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Redefining loyalty: Tesco’s brand evolution amidst Legal challenges

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Tesco was embroiled in a legal battle against Lidl that reached the Court of Appeal over claims arising from alleged infringement of copyright in Tesco’s Clubcard prices logo. This case puts to the test the brand identity and copyright law subtleties in an environment where there is cut-throat competition.

What was Lidl’s claim?

Lidl claimed that Tesco had infringed on their trade mark in the logo’s. They began proceedings underlining the logo design’s importance to corporate branding claiming that the iconic yellow circle over a blue square logo trespassed its copyright by using the Lidl reputation for value. 

Tesco claimed that the use of geometric shapes was commonplace in the sector and that the blue was in their brand guidelines and therefore they had not infringed on Lidl’s intellectual property. 

The judgment of the High Court—and later the Court of Appeal—in favour of Lidl underlines how fine the line can be between brand inspiration and copyright infringement. This considering the partial defence from Tesco being successful. The Court of Appeal decision on trade mark infringement was based on specific evidence, which focused on customer confusion. The judge did not believe Lidl could prove bad faith as they were unable to establish their intentions for the mark at the inception of the mark. This is a fascinating issue and might lead more companies to consider the rationale and intentions at the time of registering. Although, the Court of Appeal established that there was a degree of creativity in Lidl’s mark, there was the copyright protection was low and therefore made no material difference. This finding will show that those with simple logos may have a lower form of protection. 

This is going to make Tesco consider its brand strategy on the Clubcard Prices Scheme over an issue that Tesco says it would not pull back benefits being offered to their Clubcard members. 

Expert Insights on branding and market strategy

As Tesco prepares to hit the road to unveil a new logo for Clubcard Prices, it comes amid wide debates on how much a logo needs rigorous market research, innovative branding, and respecting intellectual property rights for an identity to resonate with consumers and stand the test of legality.

How Oracle Solicitors can protect your brand

When looking at branding and any intellectual property it is important to do the relevant due diligence, whether that be searching the registers or competitor research. Our lawyers are there to assist and walk you through the specifics of intellectual property law to protect your brand’s past and future. 

If you’d like to know more about how we could support your brand in its innovative evolving journey and legal resilience, please do contact us. You may contact us through our email at [email protected] or reach us at +4402030515060. 

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