🏆️ It’s a Lidl victory

In today’s email:

  • A knockout punch for Tesco

  • Google wants its shares back

  • Take an elevator all the way to space

  • The top-20 uni that allows you to cheat

  • The one UK listed law firm that’s actually doing well

  • Who wins a fight between a snowman and the Loch Ness Monster

If you take just one thing from this email…

Brand is more important to companies in some industries than others. Supermarkets is an industry where brand is really important because of the fierce competition between the players. Companies will spend millions and fight for years just to protect their brand.


If you’re a student and you’ve played around with ChatGPT, the first thought you probably had was “this thing can probably do my coursework for me” (or maybe that was just me).

And once you know that, you can never un-know it… and neither can schools and universities.

But is using AI like ChatGPT cheating or has the world changed forever now the ‘large language model’ cat is out the bag?

Well, the school of law in University of California, Berkeley (a top-20 university in the US) has decided that it’s cool with students using ChatGPT and has even created a policy to guide students on its use.

Basically, you CAN use AI for:

  • ✅ research,

  • ✅ checking grammar, and

  • ✅ checking spelling.

But, you CAN’T use AI for:

  • ❌ exams and coursework, or

  • ❌ passing its work off as your own (plagiarism).

People were concerned when ChatGPT was popularised, saying that it will impact the learning of students, and I get it… it can make some elements of studying ‘too easy’.

But I thought it was cool to see a well-known university embrace this technology and appreciate that it cuts down on some less valuable parts of learning (like checking over your own work - something I’ve always hated doing).

Let me know what you think about allowing students to use AI technology like ChatGPT.

Should students be allowed to use AI technology like ChatGPT?

You can give a reason once you click an option below.

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Let me know your thoughts! 👆️

- Idin


🏆️ It’s Lidl victory

What’s going on here?

Lidl has won a trademark lawsuit against Tesco over Tesco’s use of similar branding. The High Court ruled that Tesco had "taken unfair advantage" of Lidl's trademarks for low prices.

What was the dispute over?

Lidl’s logo includes a yellow circle over a blue background. A few years ago, Tesco also introduced a logo with a yellow circle over a blue background for its Clubcard price discounts.


Lidl brought a claim in 2020 and it has been continuing until now.

Tesco’s still using the logo today.

What law did Lidl rely on in its argument?

Lidl relied on trademarks that it had registered over two of its logos, one which had the with ‘Lidl’ in it and one which didn’t have any words in it.

Lidl’s victory was based on the Tesco logo’s similarity to the logo with the words in it.

Ewan Grist, an intellectual property (IP) partner at Bird & Bird said: "The court found that Tesco had crossed a clear line by adopting a logo for its Clubcard scheme which was deceiving a substantial number of shoppers into thinking that Tesco was price matching against Lidl, when no such price matching was actually happening. The unfair advantage which Tesco derived from this will now be brought to an end.”

Interestingly, though, Tesco did achieve a small victory of its own, with the Court finding that Lidl registered its logo without words within it in “bad faith” - as a weapon to use in disputes like this.

Is that the end of the case?

Tesco doesn’t think so…

A spokesperson for Lidl said: "We are pleased that the court has agreed with us and that it will now order Tesco to stop using the Clubcard logo." They said they are now expecting a court to issue an injunction ordering Tesco to pull the logo.

But Tesco said it was "disappointed" by the ruling and that it intended to appeal.

How much did it cost?

Charlotte Duly, head of brand protection at the law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, said the case would have cost millions of pounds - apparently the expectation was that it would cost over £2m between the parties.

Both parties conducted mass public surveys to build evidence of whether people felt there was a link between the two brands or not (that sort of thing isn’t cheap).

Why does this case matter?

In the supermarket industry, there are a few big players and competition is fierce. Historically, you had the well-known UK brands (like Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons). But things have become even more competitive since the arrival of foreign budget supermarkets over the last 10 years (like Aldi and Lidl) who have joined the fight for your grocery budget.

That’s why brand matters so much in the grocery game - more than most other industries. And you can use IP law to protect your brand as it becomes a critical asset that gives you a competitive advantage in the market.

Other industries where brand protection is key are things like:

  • 👕 Fashion and apparel

  • 🚗 Automotive

  • 🍔 Food and beverage

… as opposed to industries where you’re less likely to have brand loyalty and more likely to go with whichever is cheapest (think car insurance providers, for example).

Trademarks, logos, and other brand assets are valuable for a supermarket because they help customers identify and distinguish them from competitors. Companies (like Lidl) spend a lot of time and money building their brand reputation, and protecting these assets helps ensure that competitors (like Tesco) cannot take advantage of their investment.

Why should law firms care?

Firstly, because long, drawn-out disputes like this are lucrative work for commercial law firms with strong IP teams (see the section called ‘How much did it cost?’ above).

In this case, Lidl was represented by Benet Brandreth KC and Tristan Sherliker, instructed by Bird & Bird. Tesco was represented by Hugo Cuddigan KC and Daniel Selmi, instructed by Haseltine Lake Kempner.

Secondly, IP lawyers were a bit surprised by the outcome.

Stephanie Wickenden, an IP barrister at Serle Court Chambers, said that this ‘misrepresentation’ argument is rarely made and usually only brought up in pharmaceutical industry disputes. The judge found that Tesco misled customers by using the similar logo to claim that its products were as cheap as Lidl's. This is a new kind of ruling that may lead to more cases based on similarity instead of confusion.

Ben Milloy, a senior associate at Fladgate, said: “The decision will surprise some as Lidl were able to establish that consumers would have made a link between Lidl’s logo mark and the Tesco Clubcard branding based on relatively commonplace elements, namely, a yellow circle in a blue square. The fact that one mark said “Lidl” and the other said “Clubcard” wasn’t highly relevant as this wasn’t a case about consumers being confused, it was about taking advantage of a competitor’s reputation. In view of this, the limited similarity was enough for Lidl to win on its claims.”



  • 🗝️ Keystone (a listed law firm) reported a revenue increase of 8% to £75m in the last year. The company's profits also rose slightly too. This growth was attributed to a rise in demand for Keystone's services in the areas of dispute resolution and corporate transactions. I guess it’s not all bad news for listed firms!

  • 🦹‍♂️ Should a company face criminal sanctions for failing to prevent fraud? This is the new law that is being considered in the UK which would capture big companies doing bad things like cooking the books or making misleading public statements. Joshua Rozenberg has a great analysis of the proposed new law.

  • 📈 Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has announced a $70bn share buyback. This means that they will use their own money to buy back some of their own shares. They are doing this because they think their company will do well in the future, and they want to show people they believe in it.


  • 🚀 Space: Take a trip on an elevator to space (your scroll-wheel or touchpad is going to be put to work on this website).

  • 🥷 Fun: If you’ve ever wondered who would win in a fight between a snowman and the Loch Ness Monster, you can use this hilarious site to find out. It uses AI to tell you who will win in a fight between any fictional characters! (spoiler alert: Loch Ness Monster wins and it’s not even close)…

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  • 👥 Community for aspiring lawyers: If you're struggling with motivation for law firm applications, check out FlowHuddle - a supportive online community, hosting remote co-working sessions, expert office hours and in-person meet-ups.

  • 📕Commercial awareness journal: Check out this journal that we've created alongside the team from The Lawyer Spot. It gives your a simple three-step structure to improve your commercial awareness in a high-quality physical notebook.

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