M&S v Aldi round 2: First it was cake, now it’s gin

M&S v Aldi round 2: First it was cake, now it’s gin

Supermarkets Marks & Spencer and Aldi are locked in a legal spat for the second time this year – this time over bottles of gin that light up.

M&S has gone to the High Court seeking an injunction against alleged infringement of its design.

The retailer says Aldi’s blackberry and clementine gin liqueur is “strikingly similar” to its own Light Up gin.

It follows ‘Caterpillargate’ in April, when M&S alleged Aldi’s Cuthbert cake copied its Colin the Caterpillar cake.

Both retailer’s gins come in a bell-shaped bottle with a light in the base, which illuminates edible gold flakes in the liquid. The Aldi gin is about £6 cheaper than the basic £20 M&S version.

Legal filings by M&S at the High Court earlier this month claim Aldi’s products “constitute designs which do not produce on the informed user a different overall impression to the [M&S] designs”. M&S cites media reports comparing the products as evidence of similarity.

The action concerns alleged infringement of a specific registered M&S design that was on sale last year, not the similar globe bottles currently available.

‘Obvious copy’
An M&S spokesperson said: “M&S has a proud history as a leading British innovator and for over 136 years customers have turned to M&S for unique, original, quality products – conceived, created and developed by us working with our trusted suppliers and produced to the highest standards.”

The firm cited several firsts, including the first chilled chicken kiev, the introduction of pre-packed sandwiches, and glitter gin globes.

M&S said: “So, like many other UK businesses, large and small, we know the true value and cost of innovation and the enormous time, passion, creativity, energy and attention to detail, that goes into designing, developing and bringing a product to market and building its brand over many years.

“We will always seek to protect our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value – and protect our customers from obvious copies.”

In April, the hashtag Caterpillargate began trending on Twitter after M&S started High Court action – which is ongoing – over cake.

Aldi teased M&S on social media with a ‘freecuthbert’ campaign and dubbed the 136-year-old M&S ‘Marks & Snitches’.