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Sports Direct halts sales of Supergroup lookalikes

Sports Direct and brands Kangol, Airwalk and Voodoo Doll have been told they cannot sell a range of windcheaters and gilets as part of a High Court settlement reached this week with Supergroup.

The parent company of Superdry, Supergroup took the retailer and brands to the High Court in November 2012 citing losses and damages resulting from design right infringements that year.

According to Supergroup’s particulars of claim, seen by Drapers, Sports Direct was selling items by each of the brands that “bear… a striking resemblance to the claimant’s registered design, and as a whole [are] substantially the same in overall appearance”.

The claim noted the three brands had jackets for sale in Sports Direct that included a ribbed collar higher than the outer collar and a double-zip closure, and included pictures showing some of the jackets had similar branding to a Superdry jacket.

A spokesman for Fox Williams, which represented Supergroup, declined to comment on specifics of the case or the final settlement, but said: “Sports Direct has reached a settlement with Superdry in respect of certain jackets and gilets, and agreed not to sell these products in the future without any admission of liability.”

Sports Direct, which owns Kangol and Voodoo Doll, confirmed the settlement but declined to comment further.

Airwalk, owned by Collective Brands, could not be reached.

It has been a week in which Sports Direct dominated the headlines, having been linked with a bid for footwear retailer Office – first denying an interest, but later suggesting a bid had been blocked because of an ongoing row with Adidas regarding World Cup merchandise.

Chief executive Dave Forsey was reported as saying any takeover of Office, currently owned by private equity arm Silverfleet Capital, had been prevented because of concerns Adidas would cut supplies if it went through.

Office could not be reached as Drapers went to press. Adidas said there were “no live conversations” with Sports Direct.

Additionally, Sports Direct secured a surprise victory yesterday (July 2) when shareholders approved a bonus scheme for founder Mike Ashley and his team. It will reward Ashley and an unknown number of employees with 25 million shares worth £200m.

The yes vote came despite widespread speculation the motion would be rejected, with some investors speaking out against it. It was carried with 60.4% in favour and 39.6% against. Ashley, who has a 58% stake in the business, was not allowed to vote.

Sports Direct non-executive chairman Keith Hellawell thanked shareholders for “their support and participation”.


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