Vaude has successfully taken Schwarz E-Commerce, the internet subsidiary of Lidl, the German food chain, to court, complaining about unfair competition. The outdoor brand complained that Schwarz E-Commerce used a picture of Vaude's “Hogan UL” tent to advertise its own offer, in this case a tent that looks very similar to Vaude's, but costs only €16.99.
A Stuttgart court has issued an injunction against the retailer, which would be punished if it repeated such theft of intellectual property. Apparently, Schwarz E-Commerce accepted the decision and removed the picture from lidl.de. Vaude argued that the picture amounted to misleading publicity and that it would damage the brand's reputation as a manufacturer of high-end tents.
Simultaneously, Vaude will introduce new general business terms, effective Aug. 1. They comprise “directives for the sale of Vaude products in the internet.” This move is set to implement rules of conduct for retailers selling the brand's products online, notably through the service for online sales at vaude.com. The brand does not sell there by itself, but gives retailers the opportunity to sell via that site. With its new terms, Vaude wants to define the quality of the retailers using that service and encourages more dealers to join under the condition that these retailers meet the code of conduct.
This announcement comes along with the latest moves of big sports companies such as Adidas and Asics, which are trying to put an end to retailers' practices on the web, notably at eBay and Amazon in Germany, where these big brands see their image and their price ranges endangered by some resellers. Adidas and Asics want to stop sales through open platforms, but this move has already alerted the German antitrust authorities.