LONDON — Asos.com has reached a global settlement over two ongoing trademark infringement disputes with the Swiss cyclewear manufacturer Assos of Switzerland and the men’s wear retailer Anson’s Herrenhaus, which is based in Germany.
As part of the agreement, Asos is to pay 20.2 million pounds, or $26.7 million, in cash to reach a final settlement of all litigation. The online retailer could not confirm how the amount of the settlement would be split between the two other companies.
Assos of Switzerland and Anson’s Herrenhaus had filed the disputes over an alleged infringement of the trademarks on their names. Anson’s had placed its first claim in 2010, while Assos of Switzerland placed a claim in 2011 for the first time, following the rapid international expansion of Asos.com.
A representative for the British company explained that the disputes resulted in trademark registry actions and a number of court cases around the world. Asos was successfully defending its case in the U.K. until last year but cases in the U.S., Germany and France remained outstanding, leading the company to decide that it would be a sensible commercial move to settle the cases.
The decision was taken partly due to the fact that the retailer would have to undergo a full rebranding if the case was lost at court in Germany. In addition, under the settlement, Asos is now allowed to enter the ath-leisure market, which is in the company’s imminent plans.
Asos is still restricted from selling cyclewear and opening physical stores in Germany, while Assos of Switzerland has been granted the right and is set to open a store in London, later this year.
“We are pleased to have put this litigation behind us. Entering into this settlement at this juncture is the right commercial decision for our business,” said Nick Beighton, Asos chief executive officer.
The payment for the settlement will be reported as an exceptional item in the company’s full-year results. But financial analysts still commented positively on the company’s decision to settle the case.
“In addition to removing a potentially large distraction, Asos will now be permitted to start selling sportswear on a global basis, which they were previously unable to, whilst the litigation was under way,” said analysts at RBC Capital Markets. “Sportswear could present a sizable market share opportunity for Asos given its younger customer demographic and the growth we have been seeing in the premium sportswear market.”
Earlier this week, Canadian bank RBC named Asos.com as one of the retail companies least likely to be affected by Brexit.