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Discovery accuses Liberty of unlawfully using its Vitality brand

Liberty denies any infringements, says Discovery is trying to ‘stifle’ competition.
Discovery is taking Liberty to court for allegedly using its intellectual property unlawfully. Picture: Moneyweb

South African insurer Discovery is accusing a rival of using its incentive programme without permission, authorisation Liberty says it doesn’t need.

Vitality offers its 1.9 million customers discounts and cash back on Discovery’s life-insurance and credit cards for exercising and buying healthy food. In May, Liberty launched its Wellness Bonus, which cuts premiums for clients who are part of a program like Vitality or Momentum Metropolitan’s Multiply.

Discovery is asking the Johannesburg High Court to block Liberty from using Vitality, alleging that the competitor is making unlawful use of its intellectual property, said Discovery Life chief executive officer Hylton Kallner.

Liberty denies any infringements, accusing Discovery in its court filings of attempting to stifle competition using “scare tactics.”

Liberty identified Vitality and Multiply for reference purposes only, said David Jewell, Liberty’s managing executive of retail solutions. Liberty’s clients are within their rights to “use their health status on wellness programmes, to which they pay fees, to reduce their life-insurance premiums.”

While Momentum has no intention of pursuing legal action against Liberty, it is monitoring the situation, the Pretoria-based company said in an email.

“If you’re a Vitality diamond or gold member put it on your CV, put it on LinkedIn and put it on Tinder,” said Discovery Vitality CEO Dinesh Govender. “It’s called status. That doesn’t mean we have granted a competitor the right to market a product off the back of our work and innovation.”

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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I personally think the medical aid industry needs a stronger regulator and Discovery is at the head of that line, their practices are quite dodgy in my experience.

This has nothing to do with the “medical aid industry”

Liberty showing desperation in their lack of ingenuity ? Stumbling behind the innovators.

So this is gonna open a can of worms for Discovery Vitality as a product abroad and locally as then it kills the whole tied value as it allows others to leverage it for their own benefit.

The way I see it, comes down to who “owns” the processed result.. the customers “status” is paid for by the customer or not.. i’d be very interested to see how it is defined in the copyright docs as if they, Discovery, lose this case every other provider will leverage the “status” to offer discounts which would open them up for competition with providers who don’t have wellness program.

This story is funny in someways..

This is going to be very interesting and would have mega consequences. It really comes down to who owns your vitality status … you or discovery.

Grab the popcorn.

I dunno … this is pretty cheeky.

The old dinosaur companies have not managed to adapt. Liberty is using other company’s innovations rather than coming up with their own and Old Mutual is tearing itself apart with internal fights. Their decline is inevitable.

Do you work for Discovery? This is very clever from Liberty and great for consumers.

No I don’t but I am a Discovery Health member. My thoughts were that if Discovery is paying for the annual screening tests that I go for as part of my medical aid plan, is it fair for Liberty to use these results without having contributed to the costs of the screening tests ? I do however agree with other comments that this is a very interesting case.

Not sure what your point is…Liberty are not using the results from your annual screening test.

You probably work for Discovery and sell their expensive bulsh$#t under the guise of a “Financial Advisor” more like a policy pusher!

Please send your Vitality status to BobbyJ at Liberty dot coza, he is aching to sell you a policy.

On brown status…

Brilliant thinking by Liberty. Reminds of what Volvo did at the Superbowl. Sour grapes by Disco.

Very clever Liberty! Why can Vitality/gym/church membership when willingly disclosed by the life insurance applicant not be used to give a discount. Big risk to Discovery given its cross-selling model

Stop fighting children and rather prepare for the anc to steal all your assets and funds for their socialist NHI crappola!

Now this I did not expect to see. Very clever (if it holds up), but very lame at the same time.

Someday somebody must still explain the cashflow behind Vitality. It seems to rely on the fact that thousands will pay but only a few will actually cash in the surprisingly good benefits. If a Vitality member can get a CPT:JHB flight for say R500 instead of R2000 – who carries the R1500? Discovery, the airline? Some of the flights cost less than the airport taxes so somewhere somebody is physically out of pocket even if one goes for the argument of filling seats that would have been empty.

Kudos to Liberty. What Liberty is saying is Vitality is a leading incentive plan and they are honouring it but giving a discount on their products…I do not see the problem. The Discovery model is that because of the incentive scheme one then does investments, insurance, health, banking with them. Competition is hotting up!!!

Liberty could have did more to develop their own existing products (Addlib or risk revealer), but with their track record over the last few years (Own your life rewards, Liberty Medical Scheme. . .) I am not surprised that they would rather use someone else’s product.

There is no guarantee that this would actually work well in Liberty’s favour, even if they are allowed to do this. I think it will make little difference for Liberty actually. If you have high vitality status, you are probably in love with the whole discovery eco-system as well, and Discovery’s products are cross-integrated.

Johan, rather you explain your perception that you are “getting” a surprisingly good benefit from a JSE listed company who’s only purpose is to generate wealth for its shareholders for free? you yourself have paid handsomely for that R 500 seat and you even contributed to the profit of Comair, its only clever marketing.

storm in a teacup.So what if Liberty uses Vit for reference purposes? The real question should be: how does Vit actually help reduce monthly premiums/increase medical benefits for Disc clients?The answer is it doesn’t & never will.So why bother referring to it Liberty? It actually has no value,unless you naively believe their over-hyped advertising.

End of comments.





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