US grocery retailer Kroger is suing European supermarket giant Lidl for trademark infringement over its “Private Selection”.
Germany’s Lidl, which operates 10,000 stores around the world, opened its first stores last month on the US East Coast. As part of the launch, Lidl also introduced a house brand “Preferred Selection.”
Kroger accused Lidl of infringing its hit house brand, which it created more than 20 years ago. Kroger’s “Private Selection” generates billions of dollars in sales each year. The nation’s largest supermarket operator says the similarity in the names creates “confusion” for consumers and “dilutes” the value of its brand.
Lidl officials declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said their brand is original: “Preferred Selection is a unique specialty brand that was developed by Lidl and has been positively accepted by our customers.” the company said in a statement.
Can you claim something generic like “private selection” or “preferred selection”? Perhaps not. Or has Kroger’s “Private Selection” acquired distinctiveness through its use? The US court will have to decide if it prefers “private” or “preferred”.