Battle for colours: Lidl has succeeded in court to make the British retailer Tesco change the Clubcard logo

Battle for colours: Lidl has succeeded in court to make the British retailer Tesco change the Clubcard logo

27.03.2024 08:45
Дарія Осіїк

UK’s biggest supermarket loses appeal against ruling that it infringed German discounter’s trademark.

Tesco will stop using its Clubcard logo in its current form and carry out a costly rebranding after losing a court case against Lidl.

On 19 March this year, the supermarket chain lost an appeal against a ruling last year that it had infringed the German discount retailer’s trademark rights by using a yellow circle on a blue square to advertise its loyalty discount scheme, following a long-running trademark dispute.

Tesco will update its Clubcard Prices logo in the coming weeks, a person familiar with the company’s thinking told the Financial Times.

The number of Clubcard members surpassed 20mn last year and the supermarket has put its money-saving loyalty scheme at the heart of its strategy to attract and retain more shoppers to its stores amid the cost of living squeeze.
The High Court had ruled in April last year that Lidl could have an injunction to stop Tesco using the logo but said that this would not take effect until any appeals were resolved.
Tesco warned at the time that it would cost as much as £8mn to comply, owing to the “extremely widespread use” of the logo, with millions of signs in stores.
Lidl previously accused Tesco of deliberately seeking to ride on the coat-tails of its reputation as a “discounter” and alleged that the Clubcard Prices promotion was adopted by Tesco as part of a campaign to help it compete with discounters such as itself.

On 19 March, the court stated that Tesco’s goal was to promote the value of its own brand, but in the process “it pleaded guilty to trademark infringement”.

Lord Justice Lewison, quoting a Supreme Court judge in an unrelated case, said: “If I could have found a way to avoid that result, I would have done so. But the difficulty is that the factual findings of the trial judge, however surprising they may seem, are not open to challenge. In view of these findings, I am reserved. . . Acceptance of the judge’s conclusion [on trade mark infringement and issuance – FT] cannot be in breach of the law. It is with undisguised reluctance that I agree . . that Tesco’s appeal should be dismissed”.

However, the court allowed Tesco’s appeal against the finding that it had infringed Lidl’s copyright. Following the decision, Tesco said: “We are disappointed with the decision regarding the colour and shape of the Clubcard Prices logo, but would like to reassure customers that this will not affect our Clubcard Prices programme in any way.”

Lidl said it was delighted with the outcome and accused Tesco of “dragging out the dispute by appealing”. “We expect Tesco to respect the court’s decision and change its Clubcard logo to one that does not look like ours,” the company added.

SourceFinancial Times


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