German global discount supermarket chain Lidl has been told to withdraw its ads comparing its Cien beauty cream with those of La Prairie. In a preliminary injunction, the District Court in Amsterdam concluded that Lidl’s ad was misleading and infringed the trademark rights of La Prairie.
Comparisons are fine…
Comparative ads are permitted and even welcomed by European jurisprudence, the Court literally said in its summing up. But there are limits, and Lidl obviously crossed the line.
Pot of La Prairie for € 550?
€ 7.99 for Cien, € 550 for La Prairie
In its commercials, Lidl claimed that its Cien cream contained similar ingredients to La Prairie, except that Lidl’s product only cost € 7.99 while a pot of La Prairie was nearly € 550. Lidl backed its extraordinary comparison by referring to an article in the UK newspaper The Sun. On closer inspection, however, it was found that the item in The Sun was based solely on …. a press release issued by Lidl UK!
Also submitted as evidence was an investigative report showing that Lidl’s cream contained 36 ingredients while La Prairie’s contained 81, thereby rendering the two products non-comparable. Lidl was therefore ordered to withdraw its misleading comparative ads and pay € 15,000 in legal costs.