Kroger has dropped a federal lawsuit against Lidl that accused the discounter of copying its private brands.
The lawsuit and all claims asserted were dismissed with prejudice, meaning the case may not be refiled. Each side agreed to bear its own fees and costs, attorneys for the respective companies said in a filing late last week.
The dispute, filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va., was to go to trial early next year.
Kroger filed the suit in June, shortly after the German-based discounter’s first stores opened. In the suit Kroger alleged that Lidl’s “Preferred Selection” private brand intentionally established a name and logo “confusingly similar” to Kroger’s established “Private Selection” brand. Both companies use the respective brand names and logos to indicate its top tier of private label goods.
Kroger’s complaint charged Lidl with violations of federal trademark and service mark infringement, unfair competition, dilution and said it violated Virginia’s Consumer Protection Act. Kroger said it was seeking damages in excess of $75,000 and an order that would prevent Lidl from selling those items.
In response, Lidl argued its brand was more distinct from Kroger’s upscale line than many competitors, and that it was developed not to copy other brands but to highlight the products’ respective country of origin.
Judge John A. Gibney Jr. in July denied Kroger’s injunction request and ordered a jury trial, and signaled skepticism of Kroger’s ability to prove its claims: “Although Kroger brings five claims against Lidl, it asserts only two of its counts in support of its motion for a preliminary injunction: trademark infringement and dilution. Kroger fails to show a likelihood of success on the merits for either of its asserted claims.”