Specsavers to claim damages from Asda over short-sighted ad campaign

Specsavers is seeking to claim damages from Asda after a court ruled the supermarket infringed the optician’s trademark in a strapline for an optical ad campaign.

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The Court of Appeal ruled today (31 January) that Asda’s use of the strapline “spec savings at Asda” and the use of a double-ellipse logo, similar to Specsavers’ logo, in an ad campaign two years ago infringed Specsavers’ trademarks.

Specsavers had previously won part of a case at the High Court against the supermarket in 2010, when a judge ruled that Asda’s use of “be a real specsaver” in its promotion infringed trademark rules. The rest of Specsavers’ case at the time was dismissed, which led to the appeal.

Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers founder, says: “We welcome fair competition, which is good for customers but, as both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have found, Asda was deliberately mimicking our advertising and were well aware of the risks they were running.”

Despite the majority of the ruling falling in Specsavers’ favour, The Court of Appeal said that some elements of the law relating to trademarks need clarifying by the Court of Justice in Europe before the remainder of Specsavers’ appeal can be determined.

Specsavers says it will continue to pursue a damages claim.

An Asda spokeswoman says it is “delighted” the Court of Appeal upheld the previous High Court decision that the campaign had not caused any customer confusion.

She adds: “Specsavers continue to make a spectacle of themselves by refusing to understand a very simple point - we’re better value than them. No tricks or gimmicks - just low prices.

“Any amount of legal wrangling isn’t going to change the fact that customers want price transparency.”

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