The lawsuit was filed this week in the U.S District Court of Virginia and it alleges that Lidl intentionally chose its name and logo to cause confusion for consumers and thus infringe upon and interfer with consumer understanding of the Kroger brand.
The Kroger brand “Private Selection” accounted for nearly $2 billion profit and has been running in the U.S based stores for almost 20 years.
Both companies use their respective brands for upscale private label foods. Kroger uses the brand for thousands of items in more than 100 product categories. Kroger alleged further that Lidl’s logo resembles Kroger’s.
“New to the U.S., Lidl promises its customers a ‘retooled, refreshed and rethought’ grocery experience, but with its Preferred Selection logo, the opposite is true,” Kroger’s complaint alleged. “It is neither new nor fresh, but instead a confusingly similar simulation of Kroger’s Private Selection mark.”
“It is well known that the grocery industry is and always has been intensely competitive,” Kroger added. “Prices are not the only factor. Brand loyalty is a major intangible asset; it keeps customers coming back for more. Lidl’s Preferred Selection logo is certain to interfere with the demonstrated, immense customer brand loyalty to Kroger’s Private Selection. The damage cannot be calculated or recompensed.”
In a statement to SN, a Lidl spokesman declined comment on the suit but said, “Preferred Selection is a unique specialty brand that was developed by Lidl and has been positively accepted by our customers.”
Kroger’s complaint charges Lidl with violations of federal trademark and service mark infringement; unfair competition; dilution; and violates Virginia’s Consumer Protection Act. It said it was seeking damages in excess of $75,000 and an injunction.