German retailer Anson’s is challenging UK-based fashion retailer Asos.com over the use of its trading name within Germany, it was revealed today.
Anson’s is the country’s largest menswear specialist and has applied to the Hamburg court to ban the British e-tailer from using the Asos name in Germany due to the danger of consumers confusing the two brands.
Asos has already lost a EU-wide trademark application by Swiss cycling clothes specialist ASSOS due to similarities in trading names but is currently challenging the decision.
International expansion was key to the excellent recent results posted by Asos, which saw retail sales grew 70 per cent in the first three months of 2011, so these court cases could become a major obstacle to continued growth.
Nick Robertson, CEO of Asos, said last week: “With International becoming an increasingly significant part of our future, I was pleased to see our International sales mix exceed that of the UK for the first time, accounting for 52 per cent of our retail sales.”
Customer websites were launched by Asos in Germany, France and the US last year and the central European giant is one of the e-tailer’s five strategic growth markets.
Last year eBay spent $200 million (£123 million) purchasing Brands4Life, the largest fashion shopping club in Germany, showing the attractiveness of the German market.
Anson’s, which has 21 branches in 17 cities and an online portal, claims that it does not object to Asos’s entrance into the German market or its business model, just the use of its trading name.
A judgement is not expected until the summer, but if the court rules that the use of the Asos name in the German market could lead to customer confusion, the e-tailer will be banned from using it and may well have to pay damages to Anson’s.