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The Court of Session in Edinburgh awarded an interim interdict to William Grant and Sons Irish Brands Limited. It is the maker of Hendrick’s gin. The case was heard by Lord Clark. William Grant and Sons filed a lawsuit when the Lidl redesigned their Hampstead gin bottle resembling the ‘apothecary-style bottle’. This bottle is the identity of Hendrick’s gin.
William Grant’s legal team argued before the court that the redesign was done in such a way that it also changed the color of the diamond-shaped label from white to a similar pale color that is used on the bottle in Hendrick’s trademark making it look alike to Hedrick’s. Further, the re-designed version included a darker color of the bottle aiming to replicate the dark brown/black color used by Hendrick’s.
Hendrick’s gin was launched in the year 2000. Their bottles bear a diamond-shaped label in a trademark which became effective from the month of January in the year 2012. While on the other hand, Lidl is the parent company and also the UK owner of the Hampstead trademark of the same class 33 for alcoholic beverages as that of Hendrick’s. It was filed on the 8th day of March 2012. However, it got registered on the 12th day of March 2013. William sought a temporary injunction against Lidl to stop selling the redesigned Hampstead gin.
Lord Clark issued a written judgment stating: “I accept that the pursuer in the present case has not (as yet) provided a sufficient basis to show a reasonable prospect of success in establishing a change in the economic behavior of the average consumer or a serious likelihood that such a change will occur in the future. I do however recognize that there is at least some risk to the pursuer of harm to the brand. I take that factor into account and find that there is a reasonable prospect of success for the pursuer in showing that the defenders intended to benefit from the reputation and goodwill of the pursuer’s mark. Whether or not there was a deliberate intention to deceive, there is a sufficient basis for showing that there was an intention to benefit. It is difficult to view the re-design, including the change in color of the bottle, as accidental or coincidental. I, therefore, conclude that there is a reasonable prospect of success on the part of the pursuer in showing a change in economic behavior or a real likelihood of such a change by customers who buy from Lidl.”
William Grant was represented by Scotland’s most senior advocate and the Dean of Faculty, Roddy Dunlop QC, and Lidl appeared through Lord Keen of Elie before the court. Keen also once acted as the UK Government’s Scots law advisor being in the post of Advocate General. Lord Clark further stated in his judgment that both bottles of Hendrick’s gin and a bottle of the new Hampstead Gin were presented before him for consideration so as to reach a sound decision.