Music to Dunnes’ ears: Court of Appeal overturns Aldi trademark infringement ruling

Dunnes Stores remains Ireland's most popular supermarket, while Aldi and Lidl are still growing

Court of Appeals Judge disagrees with approach taken by Aldi's expert on the subject of shelf-edge labelling



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10 April 2017

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Dunnes Stores has won an appeal against Aldi, after the High Court ruled in 2015  that it had infringed the discounter’s trademark in its advertising. In a 2015 ruling by the High Court, Mr Justice Brian Cregan found Dunnes Stores had infringed Aldi’s trademark through the use of in-store labelling to claim its products were cheaper than its rival.

The Court of Appeal said the High Court ruling had failed to objectively compare one or more of the relevant and verifiable features of the Dunnes’ products with those of Aldi.

Mr Justice Ryan said the High Court had accepted the evidence of Aldi’s expert in relation to whether the shelf-edge labelling breached the regulations. Mr Justice Ryan said he disagreed with that expert’s approach.

Aldi also alleged in 2015 that Dunnes on multiple occasions infringed Aldi’s trademarks by displaying banners in Dunnes’ supermarkets which contained the words “Lower Price Guarantee” and “Guaranteed Lower Prices on all your Family Essentials every week”.

Aldi took the action on the grounds that the banners failed to objectively compare one or more of the relevant and verifiable features of the Dunnes Stores products with those of Aldi and so did not comply with the Consumer Protection Act 2007 and the European Communities (Misleading and Comparative Advertising) Regulations

The Judge agreed with the High Court on this finding stating that shop-floor advertising banners were not permissible. Mr Justice Ryan said the court would replace the High Court finding in relation to these with a declaration that they were not permitted because they did not constitute comparative advertising.

The Judge will meet with the parties involved next week to see whether there should be a re-trial of the case.



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