Slimming World, the organisation behind the lifestyle and weight loss management programmes, has become disgruntled over ASDA's attempts to use its trade marks on a new range of ready meals.
Last week ASDA pulled their new range of ready meals, named 'Slimzone', off the shelves amidst speculation that they were deceiving customers into thinking their ready meals were somehow linked to Slimming World and their ready meals.
It started earlier this year when ASDA released their 'Slimzone' ready meals comprising of 12 meals which ASDA classed as 'Free' under the Slimming World classification system. 'Free' foods are classified this way to indicate to dieters that they can eat as much of that food as they like. ASDA's 'Slimzone' ready meals, which included recipes such as Chicken Chow Mein and Turkey Meatball Marinara, have been a successful item amongst people looking to shift a few pounds.
The use of the words 'Free' and 'Extra Easy' however, for which Slimming World has EU trade marks in respect of food and food products, had the potential to deceive people into believing that Slimming World had endorsed ASDA's products or even approved them. Slimming World has therefore taken action against ASDA for this reason, believing they have unfairly taken advantage of their good reputation amongst dieters in order to obtain a financial benefit.
Not only this, but Slimming World are concerned that the ready meals are not actually 'Free' foods under their classification system. They have asked ASDA for a detailed list of the ingredients but ASDA has failed to respond to this request. Slimming World have stated that the tests they run to find out whether a food can be classed as 'Free' involves running subjective and objective tests and is a lot more complex than you would imagine. Slimming World are therefore worried that ASDA's 'Slimzone' meals could in fact cause harm to their reputation.
ASDA have commented that "Slimzone was always intended to bring more choice and lower prices to customers shopping for healthy frozen ready meals". They have now pulled the meals only a week before the matter was due to go to Court. Slimming World for their part have said that they never intended to prevent ASDA from selling healthy meals but their main concern is that they don't want their trade marks being used in the process and they have certainly been successful in achieving that objective.in: News, Trade Marks