Marks & Spencer has started legal action against Aldi in a bid to “protect” its Colin the Caterpillar cake.
M&S claim that its rival’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar infringes its trademark, arguing that the similarity of the products leads consumers to believe that they are of the same standard.
They are also claiming that Aldi’s cake is “riding on the coat-tails” of M&S’s reputation.
The retailer wants Aldi to remove the product from sale and agree not to sell anything similar in the future.
The history of Colin the Caterpillar
M&S launched Colin the Caterpillar around 30 years ago and his appearance has been substantially unchanged since around 2004, except for adaptations for events such as Halloween and Christmas, and related products such as Connie the Caterpillar.
The product is central to M&S’s partnership with cancer charity Macmillan, and the retailer has created a Colin product for the annual World’s Biggest Coffee Morning fundraising event.
The cake is a sponge with milk chocolate and buttercream, topped with chocolate sweets and a smiling white chocolate face.
M&S has three trademarks relating to Colin, which the retailer believes means Colin has acquired and retains an enhanced distinctive character and reputation.
‘We want to protect Colin’
A spokesman said: “Because we know the M&S brand is special to our customers and they expect only the very best from us, love and care goes into every M&S product on our shelves.
“So we want to protect Colin, Connie and our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value.”