Espionage accusations: L’Oréal sentenced to the Guinot institutes


L’Oréal must pay 370,000 euros to the Guinot group, a specialist in beauty institutes who accused it of having spied on its franchisees.

L’Oréal, the French cosmetics giant, was ordered to pay 370,000 euros to the Guinot group, a specialist in beauty institutes who accused it of having spied on its franchisees. The Paris Commercial Court “considers that elements of Guinot’s know-how have been appropriated by L’Oréal“, According to a judgment rendered Monday and transmitted Tuesday to AFP by Guinot.

The amount set by the court is nevertheless much lower than Guinot’s claims, which demanded 13.5 million euros in damages because he believes that L’Oréal has considerably hampered its development by spying on it. Guinot, which has a few hundred beauty institutes in France, accused L’Oréal of having sent “investigatorsAt the latter without specifying where they came from.

Use of “unfair means “

According to Guinot, who had instituted proceedings in 2017, these investigators presented themselves as sent internally by the management of the group itself, and obtained confidential details on the offer of care and the know-how of the institutes, that this either with employees or customers. “By not informing the estheticians concerned and consumers of the identity of the commissioner of the survey, (L’Oréal) used unfair means to appropriate information on a direct competitor of one of its subsidiaries.“, Ruled the court.

However, he considered that this operation had had far less serious financial consequences than what Guinot claims. For the court, by acting in this way, L’Oréal only limited any possible international development, in particular in the United States.

Consequently, the court will order L’Oréal to pay in damages and interest to Guinot the sum of 300,000 euros for loss of chance to expand internationally.», Concludes the court decision, adding 70,000 euros in legal costs payable by L’Oréal. Asked by AFP, the latter did not rule out appealing, saying he was“assess” this possibility. The company says it is “very surprised” by the decision and says it is seeking to “Understand how it could be considered that with the help of eight interviews conducted by an external service provider with beauticians, L’Oréal would have captured the heart of the know-how belonging to the Guinot company”.

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