Tesco and Lidl have officially begun a High Court legal battle over the use of a yellow circle logo – as Lidl claims the trademark has been infringed, causing Tesco to make a counterclaim.
A judge began overseeing the trial at the High Court in London today, where Mrs Justice Joanna Smith heard evidence from senior supermarket staff and from consumers.
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Mrs Justice Smith was shown images of two similar logos, both including a yellow circle surrounded by a red ring. However, one reads ‘Lidl’, while the other reads ‘Clubcard Prices’ in the middle.
Barrister Benet Brandreth KC, who is leading Lidl’s legal team, said the “protection available to Lidl’s core brand is at the heart of this claim.”
Hugo Cuddigan KC, who is leading Tesco’s legal team, said that to establish infringement Lidl would need to satisfy the judge that “creating a yellow circle involves sufficient artistic skill and labour to comprise the author’s own intellectual creation.”
He said it does not: “Lidl have registered trademarks for the mark with text and for the wordless marks. As is apparent, the wordless mark is the device across which the name Lidl appears. Lidl say that device is distinctive of its services and goods quite apart from the name Lidl.”
Mr Cuddigan told the judge in a written case outline: “The heart of the dispute concerns trademark infringement, and the key mark relied on by Lidl is the registered trademark for Lidl’s well-known logo, which Lidl calls the ‘mark with text’.
“Tesco says that the wordless mark is invalid on the basis that it has never been used, it lacks distinctiveness, and each application for registered wordless marks was made in bad faith,” he said.
“It is common ground that Lidl has only used the wordless mark, if at all, by using it within the mark with text.”
He said the red ring did not appear in the Clubcard signs and said: “Accordingly, at its high point, the case on infringement would be based exclusively on the reproduction of a yellow circle.
In November, Tesco won the right to appeal over claims Lidl ripped off its trademark yellow circle against a blue background in “bad faith”.