Manchester City are being sued by Superdry over their training kit
They claim the wording of the sponsorship printing is almost identical.
Manchester City Football Club is being sued by global fashion brand Superdry over their training kit — specifically, their Asashi sponsorship logo.
As per Law360, a High Court claim has been filed against the football club for an alleged case of trademark infringement due to the placement of the beer sponsor on their primary blue training gear and pre-match apparel, which is stylised as ‘Asahi Super Dry 0.0’.
Man City signed on to wear the Japanese alcohol brand on various bits of official club kit in July 2023 and the branding itself has been featured on television on multiple occasions, resulting in the fashion label of the same name accusing the club of breaching their 20-year-old trademark.
The UK-based company claims that “the differences between Super ‘Dry’ [Asahi’s stylicisation] and Superdry are so insignificant that they may go unnoticed by the average consumer.”
Superdry reportedly requested an “injunction to restrain” the football club from using its name in papers lodged in London on 15 December and is also said to be pursuing costs but is “presently unable to quantify the exact financial value of this claim”.
Founded in 2003, Superdry boasts over 515 locations in 46 different countries, including three in Greater Manchester: Manchester Arndale, Trafford Centre and Superdry Bury Store.
If found guilty of the lawsuit, which was launched on 15 December, the trial date is expected to take place around August It is unclear how much of a financial penalty the club would incur.
Since the suit arose, fans may have noticed that Asahi’s branding on City’s training and pre-match kits has now been updated, simply reading as ‘Asahi 0.0%’.
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Quoted in The Telegraph, Philip Roberts KC — representing Fox Williams LLP on behalf of the fashion brand — said that the club would need to carry out “destruction or modification upon oath of all goods and other items… [which] would constitute a breach of the injunctions”.
As seen above, this has now been done with the alteration of the Asahi sponsorship print and wording, but the barrister said, “The sponsored kit is identical to each of the selected goods” and is “identical with or similar to the mark for which the Superdry Registrations are registered”.
He goes on to add that the circumstances “give rise to a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public”. The club has yet to issue an official response but, given the changes that have now been made, they will be hoping for a resolution.
The City Football Group also still has 115 FFP charges looming over its head as football fans everywhere wait to learn of their fate.
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Featured Images — Manchester City/Comma Papana BS200 (via Wikimedia Commons)