A trademark filed by a UK business that Retail Company Sports Direct tried to oppose has been registered at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
On January 31 this year, Beverley Hedley, hearing officer of the IPO, rejected a trademark opposition brought by Sports Direct against Fitness Direct. The case centred on a trademark filed in June 2015 by Fitness Direct for the term ‘Fitness Direct’. The mark covers class 28 for goods such as body building apparatus, shin guards and ankle weights.
Fitness Defect’s mark was registered at the IPO on Friday, March 17.
Sports Direct has lost a trademark battle against a small online business despite claiming that the company, run by a husband and wife team, would confuse consumers about its burgeoning gym business.
Fitness Direct, which was started by Sandra and Faycal Makhloufi in 2014, sells sports equipment including dumbbells and kettlebells online.
The Mike Ashley-backed sportswear giant launched a trademark suit against Fitness Direct and argued that the similarity of the names would lead to its small rival having an “unfair advantage” and sought to argue that it would be “detrimental to the distinctiveness” of the Sports Direct brand.
Mr. Ashley launched the chain of low-cost gyms, which offer membership for just £5 a month, as part of his plan to expand his empire. There are now 30 gyms across the country after he bought sites from LA Fitness.
Despite the apparent similarity between the two company names, the trademark hearing officer dismissed Sports Direct’s attempt to stop Fitness Direct after highlighting that the two companies’ logos were different and the words were not unique.
Analysts have been supportive of Sports Direct’s foray into gyms and highlighted the potential to boost sales of its sportswear. However, the expansion has not been as fast as hoped as property sites have become scarce in a fiercely competitive market.
Last week he also hit headlines once again after accusing a shareholder lobby group of “fake news” after they claimed the company had one of the highest chief executive pay ratios to its employees.