German value retailer Lidl has responded to a lawsuit filed by America’s largest traditional grocer, Kroger this week, citing a “striking absence of evidence” that it had infringed on the Kroger’s Private Selection trademark.
Lidl filed papers in Virginia U.S. District Court last Friday, July 14th, boldly rejecting Kroger’s claims that Lidl’s private brand, “Preferred Selection” infringes upon Kroger’s “Private Selection.”
According to Lidl’s very direct court documents “Kroger is using this lawsuit to try to: disrupt the on-going launch of a new, emerging competitor that offers consumers high-quality products at far lower prices; distract from the positive reviews garnered by Lidl’s launch by painting Lidl as a copycat—when in fact Lidl is a decidedly different and (better) grocery experience; and drive up Lidl’s costs by having to defend against Kroger’s spurious claims.”
“As a direct result of Lidl’s wrongful conduct,” Kroger’s initial filing alleges, “Kroger has suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable injury, including, but not limited to, injury to its trademarks and to the goodwill and business reputation associated with those trademarks.”
Lidl countered, in its subsequent filing, that Kroger’s lawsuit is instead an attempt to stifle emerging competition.
“Against that backdrop and in reaction to this increased competition, Kroger—two weeks later and without notice to Lidl—filed this suit and motion for a preliminary injunction on the Friday evening before the long July 4th weekend, and sought to have a hearing just days later to try to ram through extraordinary competitive relief to which it is not entitled,” Lidl’s filings state. “Although Kroger learned in November 2016 that Lidl intended to offer private-label products under the ‘Preferred Selection’ name and had more than six months to prepare its moving papers, Kroger has offered a striking absence of evidence in support of its claims.”