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Superdry enters legal row with Jack Wills over winter coat range

Lauretta Roberts
27 August 2018

Superdry has launched legal action against Jack Wills, which it accuses of copying Superdry's designs on its winter coat range.

Former Superdry international business development director Greg Roberts joined Jack Wills last September to head up its wholesale business and Superdry is asserting that he took confidential information with him to enable Jack Wills to copy its designs.

In its case Superdry points to similarities between its £114.99 Glacier Biker Jacket, with a furry hood, and Jack Wills’ fur-free £99 Cuffley Padded Jacket. It believes that Roberts gave Jack Wills access to information surrounding the materials, factories and processes Superdry uses to create its designs.

However Jack Wills has rejected the suggestion pointing out that its clothes target a much younger demographic that Superdry. A Jack Wills insider told the Daily Mail: "Why would we want to copy their designs? Our clothes are worn by gorgeous, cool young people and theirs appeal to the middle-aged."

Superdry hit back saying its customers had grown up with the brand and that it appealed to a young audience and their "cool parents".

A high court judged ruled last week that Superdry had two weeks to submit its full case and denied its request for the case to be expedited. The judge also ruled that Superdry should pay Jack Wills' £30,000 costs. Superdry has vowed to continue pursuing the case.

Jack Wills' private equity owner BlueGem is reported to be in the process of attempting to replace the brand's founder and CEO Peter Williams with former Debenhams trading director Suzanne Harlow who has been acting as an adviser to the brand since the spring.

It is believed that Williams and BlueGem, who teamed up to buy the business in 2016, have fallen out over strategic differences, including the move into wholesale which has tied up much of the business' cash. Former Debenhams CEO and private equity expert Rob Templeman has also been drafted in as an adviser by BlueGem and is believed to have been behind the move to install Harlow at the business.

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