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Spec ulation over advertising

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Leading retailer Asda, is gearing up for a court showdown with opticians Specsavers over the use of ‘copycat’ advertising.

Guernsey-based retailer, Specsavers, has accused Asda of infringing its trademark through advertising campaigns launched online and in more that 80 supermarkets nationwide this month.

Specsavers believes the slogan, “Be a real spec saver at Asda”, is directly aimed at loyal customers, claiming they will be ‘misled’ and the brand’s reputation could potentially be damaged.

The courts have also been asked to asses the logo provided by Asda, which contains two ellipses, again similar to Specsavers’ well-known brand image.

High Court judge, Mr Justice Kitchin, agreed to treat the case urgently this week, and a full trial has been scheduled for April next year. Justice Kitchin felt that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Asda’s marketing could threaten Specsavers’ reputation and brought the trial forward following appeals from the supermarket’s barristers.

Asda’s entry into the glasses market comes on a tide of criticism for fellow opticians. Offering flat rate frames and lenses for £50, or £70 if designer, Asda has accused competitors of false advertising, arguing that variations in prescriptions are pushing glasses high above companies’ advertised rates.

“We’re simply putting an end to unfair prices and giving all our customers no-nonsense low prices they can trust,” an Asda statement read in this week’s The Times.

The “spec saver” slogan will be cancelled next week, as part of Asda’s original marketing plan, but its contentious logo will continue despite Specsavers’ challenge.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

November 8, 2009 at 12:34 am

Posted in LinkedIn, New Law

Tagged with ,

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