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Morrisons hit with trademark challenge after online delivery acquisition

20 April 2011 - 09:33 by Simon Crisp

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UK supermarket chain Morrisons has been gradually gearing up to offer groceries via safe shopping online but a challenge to a trademark application it has made could put a spanner in the works of its intended branding for the venture.

Earlier in the year it was announced that Morrisons had bought a 10 per cent stake in US delivery firm FreshDirect and it has been using its ties with this organisation to train up senior staff and gain the expertise necessary to roll out its own online delivery service in the UK.

As a result of its interest in FreshDirect it recently applied to trademark the name in the UK, but a produce supplier based in Oxfordshire called Fresh Direct is set to challenge its attempts to protect its own brand identity.

At the moment only the Fresh Direct logo is trademarked but the firm's managing director David Burns explained that it had applied to protect the term in 2010.

Mr Burns said that his business is prepared to object to Morrisons use of the FreshDirect brand in the UK, although he said he would be willing to wait and see what form the logo takes to see whether serious revisions are necessary.

A statement from a Morrisons spokesperson outlined the fact that the supermarket is still working on the branding for its new e-commerce expansion, which will provide safe shopping online for customers around the country and allow it to compete with rivals like Tesco and Sainsbury's.

Morrisons itself took steps to try and register the FreshDirect name as a trademark in the UK during March, which the spokesperson said was simply an action carried out as a result of its recent investment in the US firm of the same name.