Lidl v Tesco

Source: Lidl/The Grocer

Lidl argues the solid yellow circle and blue background of its logo form a ‘wordless’ trademark

A legal expert has backed Lidl’s prospects in its High Court battle with Tesco over similarities between the discounter’s logo and its bigger rival’s Clubcard Prices sign.

An IP lawyer said Lidl stood a chance of winning its High Court copyright infringement claim, which claims Tesco is looking to “ride on the coat-tails” of its reputation by using a yellow circle on a blue background.

Lidl argued the yellow and blue design formed a “wordless” trademark in a legal claim that emerged this week. It has presented findings from a survey in which “numerous” respondents identified a connection between the background and Lidl. Tesco has argued the wordless trademark is “a figment of Lidl’s legal imagination”, and the survey findings should be inadmissible.

However the High Court this week rejected Tesco’s argument. The claim, which Lidl launched last year, is now set to move to trial.

John Coldham, IP partner at law firm Gowling WLG, said Tesco “may feel there is an element of poacher turned gamekeeper” in Lidl’s claim, since the discounters frequently mimic brands with own label designs.

But he added: “The claim that a yellow circle on a blue background is sufficiently distinctive of Lidl on its own, even without the corresponding reference to Lidl, is a robust position to take.

“Lidl will argue that a yellow circle on a blue background is not generic, but immediately brings Lidl to mind even though the other branding elements such as the its name are not present – and that these signs are inside Tesco’s stores.

“Lidl must be confident that it has sufficient evidence to support the claim,” he added.

A Tesco spokesman said: “The trial will not take place until next year and we remain very confident of our position.”

Lidl declined to comment.