Lidl has failed to secure an injunction from the High Court preventing the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) from reposting advertisements which the supermarket chain claims are misleading and defamatory.
The IFA denies the allegations and stands up to the advertisements.
Judge Senan Allen today ruled that Lidl had not met the legal threshold to grant the injunction sought under the Defamation Act 2009.
National media campaign
Lidl Ireland Gmbh, the Irish subsidiary of the company registered in Germany, has initiated libel proceedings for two advertisements published last March in national media and online.
The first, entitled ‘Exposed’ and addressed to both Lidl and Aldi, indicated with regard to Lidl’s ‘Coolree Creamery’ milk that such a creamery does not exist in Ireland and the same for ‘Clonbawn’ milk. Irish Dairy ”from Aldi.
The second, titled “Did you know about Lidl and Aldi,” listed a number of products from both supermarket chains, repeating the non-existence claim regarding dairies / dairies and making similar claims on other items , including Lidl’s “Coolree”, “Connell Farm” and “Connell Bakery” brand products.
Lidl has sought an injunction against the IFA under the Defamation Act prohibiting further publication pending defamation proceedings. The IFA opposed the request.
She claimed, among other things, that the words in the ads meant that Lidl was guilty of a criminal offense for providing misleading information about the country of origin of her milk and that she had misled the public by misleading him. believing that “Coolree Creamery” came from Ireland when it came from abroad.
Source of milk
Lidl said all of its milk comes from the Republic of Ireland, although some of it, two and three-liter products, are processed and packaged in Omagh in Northern Ireland.
His “Connell” brands are registered trademarks and he did not invent any dairy or fictitious or ghost farm as is claimed, he said.
The IFA, along with its chairman Tim Cullinan and vice chairman Brian Rushe, who are also accused, have challenged the meanings defended by Lidl.
Among their arguments was that Lidl seemed to have separated the question of country of provenance and “the effect of using fictitious producers”, when in reality there was a central question of whether its branding was misleading or capable of misleading consumers. .
The IFA said it maintains the truth of the claim and, as part of its evidence, produced a market research commissioned by the National Dairy Council which found that 78% of those surveyed believed milk was produced at Coolree Creamery.
Allen J., denying the injunction, said the onus was on Lidl to establish that the statements were libelous and that the IFA had no defense that was reasonably likely to succeed.
The judge was not happy with the ad clearly titled “Exposed” and only meant that the Lidl brand milk was not Irish.
He was also not convinced that the announcement clearly and only meant that Lidl’s labeling and packaging was misleading as to the country of origin of its products.
He was also not convinced that the defendants had no defense that was reasonably likely to succeed.
The judge said his tentative view was that, since the defendants were fully successful, Lidl had to pay the costs of the injunction case, but he would hear the parties on the case in two weeks.