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Lidl Loses Crocs Trademark Dispute

Written by Michael Coyle on 27 November 2014

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Discount supermarket Chain Lidl has failed in its attempt to get a European trademark belonging to shoe manufacturers Crocs cancelled. Lidl had argued that the design of their shoes is simply a variation of a shoe shape “known for centuries” and that the shape was not distinctive enough to warrant a trademark, this argument was rejected by the Community Trade Mark Office.

Crocs on the other hand had argued that the shape differed “significantly” from a regular shoe shape and that their design was distinctive of the Crocs brand.

The Community Trade Mark Office ruled that the shape of Crocs’ shoes is noticeably distinct thus warranting a trademark for 3D design. As such it rejected Lidl’s attempt to cancel the trademark.

The Community Trade Mark Office commented “some consumers love the shape of the Crocs shoes, some consumers hate the shape of the Crocs shoes, but what they agree on is that the shape is distinctive and that they should have a monopoly right to the shape”

It is unclear as to exactly why Lidl purported to have the trademark cancelled. One possible explanation may be that they intended to sell similar footwear and as such a trademark cancellation action would have cleared the way for such use.

The Community Trade Mark Office commented “some consumers love the shape of the Crocs shoes, some consumers hate the shape of the Crocs shoes, but what they agree on is that the shape is distinctive and that they should have a monopoly right to the shape”

Following this decision Lidl will now have to pay the costs of the case. Lidl can also decide to appeal the case.

Written by: Fozia Cheychi - A work experience student.

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