Lidl wins high court case against Tesco over blue and yellow logo

Judge says Tesco’s Clubcard Prices design infringes trademark of rival supermarket

Tesco may have to stop using a blue and yellow logo to promote its Clubcard loyalty scheme after the high court found it had copied a design by Lidl.

The judge found Tesco had infringed Lidl’s trademark and was guilty of “passing off” in misleading shoppers into thinking that products under the Clubcard Prices scheme are offered at the same or lower prices as those in Lidl.

The dispute kicked off after Tesco began using a yellow circular design with a blue background to promote offers available for members of its Clubcard loyalty scheme. Lidl’s main logo follows that design, with the addition of a red circle and its brand name.

The judge found Tesco guilty of “copying with a view to enhancing the value perception of Tesco’s own Clubcard Prices offering by adopting a getup, in the form of a blue background and yellow circle, which already had a proven association with a strong value proposition (ie the Lidl Logo) in the minds of consumers”.

The judgment said Tesco and Lidl would now have to liaise on next steps and if they couldn’t agree then a further court hearing would determine what should happen. Lidl said it expected the court to pass an order telling Tesco to cease using the logo.

A spokesperson for Lidl’s British business said: “Over the last three years, Tesco has been using its Clubcard logo to deceive many customers into believing that Tesco was price matching against Lidl or was able to offer the same great value as us.

“We asked Tesco to change their Clubcard logo, but they refused, making it necessary to bring this case. Having seen the evidence, the court has now ruled that Tesco’s Clubcard logo was copied from Lidl’s logo, and it infringes Lidl’s trademark rights and copyright.

“This infringement allowed Tesco to take unfair advantage of our longstanding reputation for great value, misleading their customers at a time when they should have been supporting them. We are pleased that the court has agreed with us and that it will now order Tesco to stop using the Clubcard logo.”

Tesco said it intended to appeal against the ruling.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are surprised and disappointed by the decision today in relation to the claim brought by Lidl against our Clubcard Prices logo. Clubcard Prices has always been about offering great value to our Clubcard customers, across thousands of products, as part of our commitment to keeping the cost of the weekly shop as affordable as possible. Nothing in today’s decision changes that.

“This claim brought by Lidl was just about the colour and shape of the Clubcard Prices logo. The judge’s ruling concluded that there was no deliberate intent on Tesco’s part to copy Lidl’s trademark.”

Tesco said that the scheme, which offers lower prices to holders of its loyalty card, would continue to run unaffected.

Tesco, Britain’s biggest grocer, won an appeal last November granting it permission to argue that Lidl applied to trademark a yellow circle on a blue background in “bad faith”. The high court judge found in Tesco’s favour on that front.


Sarah Butler

The GuardianTramp

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