Retailers Tesco and Lidl fight over logo’s trademark in UK court

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Logo of retailer Lidl is seen in Schaenis

By Sam Tobin

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco tried to revive part of its lawsuit against discount supermarket Lidl on Tuesday, telling a London court that its German-owned rival had applied for trademarks for a yellow circle against a blue background in “bad faith”.

Tesco filed a counterclaim against Lidl in 2021, in response to Lidl’s initial lawsuit which said Tesco was trying “to ride on (its) coat-tails” by using a logo of a yellow circle on a blue background to promote its “Clubcard Prices” discount scheme.

Tesco – the grocery market leader in Britain with a 27% share against Lidl’s 7%, according to industry data – argued that Lidl registered a trademark of its logo without its name to support the trademark over its more widely used logo.

A lower court dismissed Tesco’s case on bad faith in June, but the supermarket’s lawyers told the Court of Appeal in London that the logo without Lidl’s name “has never been seen by the public”.

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

But Lidl’s lawyer, Benet Brandreth, also a King’s Counsel, argued that Lidl has used the logo without its name and that his client had a good commercial basis for applying for the trademark.

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He said in written arguments that Lidl’s underlying case is that Tesco has “copied Lidl’s logos … to benefit from the association with Lidl’s reputation for high quality goods sold at a low price”.

Documents provided to Lidl by Tesco in the course of the litigation also show that “many of their customers believe the Tesco [Clubcard Prices] logo to be the Lidl logo”, Brandreth added.

Judge Kim Lewison said at the end of the hearing that the Court of Appeal will give its ruling at a later date.

A trial of Lidl’s initial lawsuit and Tesco’s remaining counterclaims is due to be heard at the High Court in London early next year.

The case is Lidl Great Britain Limited and another v Tesco Stores Limited and another, CA-2022-001407.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Bernadette Baum)