Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG v. Nikhil Joshi

Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG

Case details

Defendant: Nikhil Joshi

Case no.: R0410/2010-1

Jurisdiction: European Union

Industry: Retail

Decision date: 19 Oct, 2010


The signs are similar visually since the sequence of letters in each sign is similar to some extent. The first two and the last letters are the same in both marks. Aurally, the similarity is even stronger because LIDL will often be pronounced as if it spelt LIDEL. For phonological reasons, D and L are nearly impossible in most languages to pronounce without uttering a vowel between them. So, the marks would sound LIFEL and LIDEL in languages like Spanish, Italian, German, French. Conceptually, no comparison is possible as both marks are invented words. Overall, the CTM applied for is similar to the opponents. The overall similarity might not be rated as high, but it is outweighed by the identity of the contested goods in Class 5. In the Boards view, the OD failed to consider that medicines - let alone those which are prescribed by doctors - are not the sort of goods that consumers pick from a supermarket shelf. If the medicines are sold by prescription, the name of the drug is often scribbled by the doctor on a piece of paper, sometimes in poorly legible handwriting. That would cause a possibility of confusion, primarily on the part of the pharmacist who reads the prescription. Consequently, a finding of LOC is justified. The contested decision is annulled and the CTM is rejected for all goods in Class 5.

Comparison of Trademarks