U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. set a court date for Kroger’s trademark infringement suit against Lidl this week, but denied the U.S.’s largest grocery retailer’s request for a temporary injunction against the German newcomer to prevent sales of products bearing a contested store brand name.
Kroger says Lidl’s Preferred Selection house brand is too close for comfort to its own Private Selection brand.
The judge heard from experts who interviewed consumers to assess their confusion between the two brands before denying Kroger’s injunction request.
The case will come to trial Jan. 11.
Judge Gibney’s original assessment was ambiguous — as reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the judge said that while the logos look somewhat alike, the words preferred and private clearly have different meanings.
About 160 of the 3000 offering in a typical Lidl location carry the Preferred Selection label.
Kroger’s Private Selection label covers about 1000 products.
Kroger is America’s largest grocer with almost 3000 locations. Lidl has opened a handful of stores in the Southeast this summer and plans to open a total of 100 over the next few months.