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Asda Shouldnt Have Gone To Specsavers

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Two years ago Asda launched an optical advertising campaign encouraging consumers to 'be a real spec saver at Asda and promoting 'spec savings at Asda'. They also used a double-ellipse logo similar to Specsavers own logo.


Although Specsavers won part of its case in the High Court in April 2010, when the trial judge found that one of the straplines used by Asda ('be a real spec saver at Asda') infringed its trademarks, the Court of Appeal ruled today that the other contentious strapline ('spec savings at Asda') was also an infringement as was the use of a double-ellipse logo during the course of Asda's campaign. A cross-appeal by the supermarket chain in relation to the High Court's earlier finding against it was also dismissed.


However, the Court of Appeal also ruled that some elements of the law relating to trademarks needed clarifying by the Court of Justice in Europe before the remainder of Specsavers' appeal could be determined and rejected one of the legal bases on which Specsavers argued its case.


Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins 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.


'When we first raised this with Asda, their response was to issue a press release saying that we would have to sue them as they would not back down... so we did.


'Specsavers is a family owned company and a retail success story at home and abroad that the British public should be proud of. It has taken years and a lot of hard work to build up our identity and we will rigorously defend our brand against any infringers.


'We felt from the outset that the original judgement had been wrong in rejecting parts of our claim. This landmark decision today confirms our view.'


Specsavers intend to pursue a damages claim.





Specsavers notes to editors

• Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director.
• Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
• Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group was £1.5 billion for 2010/2011 and is forecast to reach £1.6 billion in 2011/2012.
• 7.6m customers used Specsavers in 2011 – more than in any other year.
• Specsavers Optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
• Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff.
• Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the tenth year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2011.
• More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers* - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011.
• Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK*.
• Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world.
• Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and offers a hearing service from more than 400 locations.
• Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Guide Dogs and Hearing for Deaf People. During its three-year support for Diabetes UK it raised more than £250,000 to fund various projects.
• Since 2003 more than a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas, for use in developing countries. Specsavers has raised over £370,000 for the charity since 2006, with almost £250,000 going towards its work in Zambia.