The maker of gin brand Hendrick's has taken legal action against Lidl, claiming that its trademark has been infringed with the discounter's Hampstead gin brand.
According to reports, while Lidl has been selling the Hampstead brand for a decade or so, a bottle redesign in late 2020 drew the ire of spirits maker William Grant & Sons, which claimed that the new-look bottle is too similar to its Hendrick's brand.
According to the PA news agency, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, the supreme civil court of Scotland, Lord Clark QC wrote in a written judgement, “Notwithstanding the existence of some measure of dissimilarity, having regard to a comprehensive assessment, there is a sufficient basis to argue visual and conceptual similarity between the mark and the sign.
“Bottle shape and colour are often intended to be distinguishing features of gin products. I accept that the more distinctive the mark the greater is the likelihood of confusion and that the Hendrick’s mark relied upon is quite distinctive and recognised on the market."
Lord Clark also noted a number of social media posts, lodged on behalf of Hendrick's, in which users claimed that the discounter was trying to copy the Hendrick's brand, according to PA.
“From the material put before me, I am in no doubt that the trademark relied upon has a reputation in the United Kingdom," he said.
“I therefore conclude that there is a reasonable prospect of success on the part of the pursuer in showing a change in economic behaviour or a real likelihood of such a change by customers who buy from Lidl, and hence that it has created an unfair advantage."
Ahead of the court session, which was reminiscent of the recent furore over M&S' Colin The Caterpillar cake, Lidl was required to cease the sale of its Hampstead gin brand in its current guise.
A Lidl spokesperson told the news agency that it had noted the court's decision, and has "closely adhered to the requirements outlined within the ruling".
It added that it is hopeful of reaching a "satisfactory conclusion" to the matter in due course.