Lidl v Tesco

Source: Lidl/The Grocer

Lidl has accused Tesco of ‘riding on its coattails’ with its Tesco Clubcard logo

Tesco told a court on Tuesday that Lidl had applied for a trademark in “bad faith”, in the latest episode in the battle between the two supermarkets over logos.

Lawyers for Tesco told the Court of Appeal in London that the yellow circle on a blue background, with no accompanying words, had never been seen by the public.

“This is an unused (trademark) logo which has been applied for the purposes of bolstering the protection in Lidl’s logo,” said Simon Malynicz, representing Tesco.

Tesco’s argument, which was dismissed in an earlier hearing at High Court in June, is part of a counterclaim in response to a trademark infringement claim by Lidl. The discounter has accused the UK’s biggest retailer of trying to “ride on the coattails” of its reputation for value by using a yellow circle on blue background as the logo for Tesco’s Clubcard Prices. Lidl wants to ban Tesco from using the symbol.

Benet Brandreth, representing Lidl, told the court on Tuesday that Lidl had used the logo without its name and had a good commercial basis for applying for the trademark.

In a written argument, he said: “The allegation is that Tesco has copied Lidl’s logos. It has done so to benefit from the association with Lidl’s reputation for high quality goods sold at a low price. In particular, to imply that they are price-matching with Lidl without actually needing to jump through the hoops of doing so.”

Read more: Lidl is accusing Tesco of ‘riding on coat-tails’. Well, it would know about that

Brandreth said survey evidence showed that “many of their customers believe the Tesco Logo to be the Lidl logo”.

He also argued Tesco’s marketing department “knew in advance of adopting it that a substantial proportion of their customers believed their logo was the Lidl logo or looked like it”.

Judge Kim Lewison said a ruling would be given at a later date.

Lidl’s trademark infringement claim and further counterclaims from Tesco are due to proceed to trial at High Court early next year.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We deny and are strongly defending this claim. The hearing this week was on a procedural point, and the overall merits of the case won’t be decided until the trial next year. We remain very confident of our position.”