Press release of June 29, 2015
The Swedish headphone manufacturer Zound Industries International AB, represented by BARDEHLE PAGENBERG, prevailed over the German discounter Lidl and their suppliers in two consecutive disputes over imitations of the original “Urbanears Plattan” headphones with claims under German unfair competition law.
Zound Industries is producing and distributing fashionable headphones in over
90 countries worldwide, including Germany. Since 2012, Zound Industries struggles with several competitors (inter alia, Lidl) offering imitations of the original “Urbanears Plattan” on the German market.
In order to prevent Lidl from distributing imitations via its online shop, Zound Industries sent a respective warning letter to Lidl E-Commerce International GmbH & Co. KG. However, not Lidl but the supplier of the contested products, Targa GmbH, replied, showing willingness to settle the matter amicably. While Targa, in the end, undertook to refrain from distributing the headphones and to pay Zound Industries a five-digit amount as compensation for damages, Lidl refused to enter into such an agreement. In reaction to Lidl’s reluctant attitude, Zound Industries successfully applied for an ex parte injunction with the Cologne District Court (Case No. 84 O 105/14). Upon service of the injunction, Lidl finally gave in and declared to accept the injunction as final and legally binding solution of the matter.
Only a few weeks later, however, Zound Industries noticed that Lidl was distributing again another, similar and presumably unlawful imitation of the “Urbanears Plattan” headphones online and through stores. After a request for coercive measures filed with the Cologne District Court remained without success, Zound Industries pursued its claims for injunctive relief, information and damages against Lidl E-Commerce International GmbH & Co. KG (responsible for Lidl’s online offers), Lidl Dienstleistung GmbH & Co KG (responsible for Lidl’s in-store offers) and the supplier of the products, Hoyer Handel GmbH, in proceedings on the merits before the Hamburg District Court (Case No. 327 O 475/14). On the court’s proposal during the oral hearing, Lidl and Hoyer Handel finally agreed to settle the case. Apart from giving an undertaking to cease and desist, Lidl and Hoyer accepted to bear all costs of the proceedings and to pay Zound Industries a lump sum compensation.
Representatives of Zound Industries International AB:
BARDEHLE PAGENBERG (Munich)
Dr. Henning Hartwig (Attorney-at-Law, Partner)
Adrian Kleinheyer (Attorney-at-Law)
Representatives of Lidl and Hoyer Handel GmbH:
Preu Bohlig & Partner (Hamburg)
Dr. Detlef von Schultz (Attorney-at-Law)
Representatives of Targa GmbH:
Fritz Patent- & Rechtsanwälte (Arnsberg)
Marco Hoffmann (Attorney-at-Law)
Cologne District Court (4th Chamber for Commercial Matters):
Bernd Paltzer (Presiding Judge)
Hamburg District Court (27th Civil Chamber):
Stephanie Zöllner (Presiding Judge)