Earlier this year, M&S issued proceedings against Aldi stating that its version of the chocolate caterpillar (Cuthbert), stating that its version was highly similar to its chocolate caterpillar cake (Collin). Please access the following link for further information on this: https://lawdit.co.uk/readingroom/cake-wars-m-s-files-claim-against-aldi-over-rival-caterpillars.
It seems that the budget food retailer Aldi has not learned its lesson and has once again been issued with proceedings by M&S for intellectual property infringement.
This new allegation of infringement concerns Aldi’s blackberry and clementine gin liqueurs which are highly similar to its “Light Up” gin which it traditionally sells each Christmas season. M&S uses the fact it has a registered design in relation to its gin strength its claim. It is seeking a High Court injunction to prevent Aldi from selling its version of its gin liqueurs. M&S states that the fact that both its and Aldi’s gin bottles are bell shaped, incorporate a light at the base which illuminates the bottle and has edible golden flakes in the liquid, shows that M&S has willfully infringed its intellectual property rights. However, Aldi’s version is considerably cheaper by £6.
As the retail sector has seen a decline in profits and has had to adapt to the changes in consumer shopping, one can understand M&S wanting to do enforce its IP rights to protect and maximise the sale of its goods, especially during the Christmas trade. As M&S’s reputation for good quality British food is something that has arguably kept the retailer out of permanent administration. Therefore, its reputation amongst consumers along with its investment in its designs, trade marks and copyright works is something that it needs to protect.
Aldi has since responded to M&S’s latest legal proceedings by tweeting “[n]othing like taken to court to give you that tingly Christmas feeling”. However, it waits to be seen whether Aldi will be laughing last.
If you have any questions in relation to copyright, design rights or IP infringement, please feel free to call our Intellectual Property department on: 02380235979.