Asos wins trademark appeal case

Thursday, 02 April 2015

The Court of Appeal has found in favour of Asos in the trademark infringement case brought to the court by Swiss company, Assos, stating that Asos.com’s name and logo does not infringe on the trademark of the Swiss cycling brand.

The High Court dismissed Assos’s case in October 2013, ruling that consumers would not confuse the two brands, so Asos didn’t infringe on, cause confusion or damage the cycling brand, and now the Court of Appeal has once again found in favour of Asos.

The ruling was close, the Court of Appeal ruled in Asos’ favour by two judges to one, stating that the e-tailer had been using its company name in an “honest way” for many years without any confusion to the Assos brand.

Tom Carl, senior associate in the intellectual property practice at international law firm Taylor Wessing, explains: "By a majority of two to one, the Lord Justices decided the High Court had not given enough weight to Assos’s trademark rights, and that there was a technical risk of confusion and dilution between the brands.

“In usual circumstances, the Court would therefore normally conclude there was an infringement. However, they held this was an "unusual case" in which Asos had a valid defence (known as the "own name" defence) because they had been using their own company name - Asos – in an honest way as a brand for many years, in parallel to Assos without any actual confusion.”

Assos has stated that it intends to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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