ASOS in a Trade Mark Dispute with ASSOS

Online fashion giant ASOS, an acronym of ‘As Seen On Screen’, captures trends from celebrities and markets a mixture of their own affordable brand alongside designer labels from around the globe succeeds against specialist cyclist retailer ASSOS in a trade mark dispute.

ASSOS made a bid for ASOS to change its name in a trade mark row, claiming that the fashion brand infringed its Community Trade Mark and created public confusion, endangering the ‘goodwill’ of the company. The court disagreed with these accusations and denied there being a probability of confusion between the two clothing companies; with ASOS selling garments directed at ‘cool, fashionable, on-trend 20-somethings’ and ASSOS trading specialist skin-tight apparel for the purpose of cyclists. The court also observed that whilst the target markets of the companies were very different, the histories of the brands were also very diverse.

Switzerland based company ASSOS has been trading since the 1970’s and were renowned for fabricating the first ‘lycra cycling shorts’. The high-end company has a turnover of around £14 million a year, with the now legendary shorts retailing at £200 and other products costing a considerable lot. ASSOS is famous for its luxurious sportswear and the name specifically means ‘the best’ in Greek, providing clothing for more than 250 gold-medalist Olympians for over 40years.

ASOS launched in the 1990’s with exclusive availability online. The company has done extraordinarily well in this short time and achieved an exceptional turnover of £500 million, with the share price more than doubling in that year also. Although a much younger company than ASSOS, the fashion enterprise is a much bigger player in comparison with a huge online presence. ASOS

The court concluded that although ASOS responded with a somewhat delayed reaction, the internet- based company had taken appropriate measures to dissociate themselves with any kind of cycling clothing or goods that bear the ASOS brand.

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