In a lawsuit* filed June 30, Kroger argued that Lidl's Preferred Selection brand (featured on 160 items out of 3,000 typically stocked in a Lidl US store) is confusingly similar to its own 'Private Selection' private label brand, but following a day of testimony from both sides on July 25, US District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. denied Kroger’s request and set a trial date for January 11, 2018.
While Gibney conceded that the logos look “somewhat alike,” he didn't find that they had "an identical or similar meaning," and noted that the words 'private' and 'preferred' have different meanings, The Richmond Times reported.
In a statement sent to FoodNavigator-USA, Kroger said it was disappointed with the court's decision but vowed to continue fighting: "The Kroger Co. and our family of stores are extremely proud of Our Brands. We believe the merits of this case are clearly outlined in the complaint.
"We welcome fair competition and are disappointed with the court's ruling that was issued on July 25. We look forward to protecting our long-held trademarks in this ongoing litigation."
Lidl US, in turn, welcomed the ruling: "We are pleased with the court's ruling, which is a positive outcome for customers and market competition. Lidl is fully committed to delivering our customers the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices and our range will continue to include the Preferred Selection."
Read more about the case - and why attorneys we spoke to earlier this week predicted Kroger faced an uphill battle - HERE.
**The case is THE KROGER CO., and THE KROGER CO. OF MICHIGAN v. LIDL US, LLC and LIDL STIFTUNG & CO. KG, 3:17-cv-00480 filed in the eastern district of Virginia.