Lidl has been ordered to stop selling one of its own brand gins after a court found there was evidence to suggest the supermarket was “riding on the coat-tails” of Hendrick’s gin.

The cut-price store changed the packaging of its Hampstead gin in December last year, with a new bottle and label similar to those used by the upmarket Scottish brand.

Hendrick’s - produced in Girvan by William Grant & Sons - then launched a legal case at the Court of Session seeking an interim interdict preventing the sale of the product on the basis that it breached trade mark rules.

Judge Lord Clark has now granted the order, finding that there is a reasonable chance Hendrick’s will be able to show that Lidl “intended to benefit from the reputation and goodwill” of its brand.

Lidl tried to claim that its customers would not expect to see Hendrick’s gin in its stores and would realise it was an own-brand product. However, Judge Clark added: “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 colour of the bottle, as accidental or coincidental.”

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Hendrick’s provided evidence of the similarities between its packaging and the new Hampstead design, including that the bottle was a similar shape and colour and its distinctive diamond-shaped label was replicated on the Lidl product.

The firm also presented posts on social media which alluded to the similarities.

The court judgment said these included comments such as “Hmmm... reminds me of another gin, but I just can’t put my finger on it (followed by laughing emojis)” and “Looks like another bottle of gin (followed by a winking emoji)”.

Others described it as a “fake copy” and “rip off” of Hendrick’s.

Judge Clark said this evidence offered “some support” for the “proposition of Lidl riding on the coat-tails of the Hendrick’s mark so as to benefit from its attraction”.

Cara McGlynn, a senior solicitor at Brodies, said this case and the recent dispute over Marks and Spencer’s Colin the Caterpillar cake, show that sometimes a line can be crossed in copycat products.

“When it comes to copycat cases, the interim decision in this case is a great example of the benefit of a brand’s reputation when it comes to establishing trade mark infringement,” she said.

“The Hendrick’s brand has enjoyed a reputation in the UK since 2000. Furthermore, Lidl sold Hampstead gin for around 10 years prior in a green bottle, more akin to your average gin bottle.

“It was not until 2020 that the style of Lidl’s Hampstead gin changed to a dark, rounded bottle, reminiscent to that of Hendricks.

“This decision and the recent battle of the caterpillars, with Colin v Cuthbert, sheds light on retailers sailing close to the wind and the important intellectual property considerations as to where the line is crossed when it comes to copycat products.”

The judgment made it clear that the court’s decision will only apply in Scotland, meaning Lidl could continue to sell the product in other parts of the UK.

Lord Clark stated: “On the basis of the averments, submissions and authorities put before me, I am unable to conclude in the factual circumstances of this case that this court can make an interim order extending in territorial scope beyond Scotland.

“I therefore find, at this stage in the proceedings, that the order does not extend beyond Scotland.”

A Lidl spokesman said: "Although naturally disappointed, we note the court’s decision and have closely adhered to the requirements outlined within the ruling. We continue to liaise directly with the parties involved and hope to reach a satisfactory resolution in due course."