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Are M&S right to sue Aldi over Cuthbert the copycat of Colin the Caterpillar?

Is Cuthbert the Caterpillar guilty as charged?

M&S has launched a High Court intellectual property claim, arguing its rival’s product Cuthbert the Caterpillar, is too similar.

Marks & Spencer has started legal action against Aldi in an effort to protect its Colin the Caterpillar cake with a claim that its rival’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar product infringes its trademark.

M&S, which lodged an intellectual property claim with the High Court this week, is arguing the similarity of Aldi’s product leads consumers to believe they are of the same standard and “ride on the coat-tails” of M&S’s reputation with the product.

M&S wants Aldi to remove the product from sale and agree not to sell anything similar in the future.

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.

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.

“We want to protect Colin, Connie and our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value.”

Aldi declined to comment.

What are your views? Are you a fan of Colin the Caterpillar? Is Colin a national treasure? Do you think Aldi should have designed their own original celebration cake instead of copying M&S? Should Cuthbert be found guilty? And what about Asda’s Clyde the Caterpillar Cake?

Is Cuthbert the Caterpillar guilty as charged?

2532 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Ariadne
3 days ago
0
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What a lot of fuss over a slice of cake .. M&S do need all the help they can get to be noticed. .I suspect that Aldi's cake tastes nicer .
SueC62
5 days ago
0
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I've never been a fan of M&S and this petty spat by them does nothing to change that opinion. Considering all the suoermarkets have similar cakes, why pick on Aldi? The only good thing about It is the number of FB memes being generated, including the one shaming Colin by posting nude photos of him (an undecorated swiss roll).
lolly22
2nd May 2021
0
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There has always been competition in business. I can't really see a problem as they aren't exactly decorated the same,and customers will buy what they prefer .However if it is a patented product then I guess M&S have a point .
DaveEllerby
26th Apr 2021
1
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I have a very vague recollection from the mid 80's of a cookery book with children's birthday cake ideas and there being a caterpillar cake therein. I have no idea what it looked like but Colin does look familiar........
Catton
24th Apr 2021
0
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I agree with most of the opinions here.

When you consider the court costs to bring the case over something which in the long run will not change public opinion Marks looks as though they are being very petty.
Basically people will buy whichever taste they prefer.

Also many supermarkets e.g. Sainsbury and Tesco are now advertising price matching with Aldi.
JE
20th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
It just seems so petty, particularly when we consider what’s happening in the world at the moment.
I am under the impression that Aldi withdrew Cuthbert from sale a couple of months ago but are going to relaunch it soon as a special addition with all profits going to charity.
If M and S continue with this, their reputation will be forever tarnished.
ChrisJ33
19th Apr 2021
1
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On the face of it M & S seem very petty. However, the saying goes 'there's no such thing as bad publicity'. It would be fun to have a publicised tasting ceremony. Let the children decide which cake tastes best
lchuffam
18th Apr 2021
2
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Since M&S' cake bears a remarkable resemblance to the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, I don't think they're in a very good place to claim the moral high ground. But both companies are getting an awful lot of free publicity out of this
JeanetteL5
18th Apr 2021
0
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Was Ms the first caterpillar cake.
???? They are being highly unreasonable and stupid. They have just made thereselfs and aldi a fortune. The need to get a life and look at how expensive all there food clothes and home wares are instead of perusing cuthbert. They must be running scared ha ha
viking
18th Apr 2021
0
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The outcome of this action is how far are M&S protected by the 3 trade marks apertaining to Colin the caterpillar.
If it is decided that any one could make a cake of sponge, milk chocolate,butter cream,topped with sweets, But if the cake shape face etc.etc., are an exact copy of the M&S celebration cake then possibly it will be a different outcome.
gel65
18th Apr 2021
2
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M and s are silly and it will hit them hard in terms of bad publicity.
ecarg
18th Apr 2021
4
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May I suggest that MacMillian would prefer to have the money the court case will cost donated to them than used to protect a product.
BertieB99
18th Apr 2021
6
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Quite agree Stephen B869. Surely by now customers know the difference between M&S Food and Aldi Food. Both bring great products to the table but Aldi Food is Cheaper and not everyone can afford a £7 cake. So for every cake that M&S sell their profits go up by £2.01/cake sold. My thought is if Aldi are making a profit on their cakes selling at £4.99 each then surely M&S should hold their heads in shame at overcharging us for basically the same product - that is what M&S are telling us all isn't it. M&S cannot control the food market - it is up to us the customer on the choices that we make and where we buy our food from. I have had a look at the other supermarket brands and I would say that Sainsburys is quite a close match - take off the sprinkles and the match is pretty much there. Aldi's face is completely different from M & S's and there seems to be a lot more smarties on the Aldi's one.
jeanmark
19th Apr 2021
0
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BertieB99, well said and interestingly M&S, Waitrose and Aldi often have the same suppliers of food products, but Aldi sell at a much lower price and with the same high quality as the others two!
Ariadne
3 days ago
0
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For GOODNESS SAKE !!!!! JUST POUR THE TEA !!!!
TinaE1
18th Apr 2021
3
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I can't believe that M&S are being so childish. Competition is good for the market stops retailers getting complacent.
I'm sure they have more than enough money to make larger donations to their cancer charity, especially since they seem to have more than enough to throw away on a pathetic law suite about a cake fgs. Grow up M&S.
StephenB869
18th Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
If you go shopping in Aldi you are not looking for an M&S cake, nor visa versa so if you are in Aldi and want a caterpillar cake that's the one you'll get.
MaryS316
18th Apr 2021
4
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Imitation is the best kind of flattery! Surely M&S have enough sales without going through a court case?
Rosedeb
18th Apr 2021
1
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Fantastic free publicity for both sides
MarianW2
18th Apr 2021
3
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Totally unnecessary action. There’s a caterpillar cake available from most supermarkets; Asda and Tesco for example, both have their versions but they’ve not been taken to task. It doesn’t make sense. As others have said - there’s enough of a market for everyone, let the customer decide. Get down off your high, over-priced horse M&S. I don’t think this action shows you in a very favourable light, particularly in the current climate. No. What’s more concerning to me, and what no one else seems to be asking about is why Colin’s previously googly-eyes have been changed to unpleasant, stagnant staring discs? Eh? Many a birthday gathering has descended into googly-eye chaos, with hilarious consequences. A party isn’t a party if you can’t fix Colin’s eyes onto your face. M&S should be made to answer for this; why the change? Cost probably. Cheap tricks by retailers ... Sad times ☺️
Wilf
18th Apr 2021
5
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M&S are clever as this is getting a lot of publicity but the Brits don't like this sort of legal action. My view is let the customer decide!
Jacqui32
18th Apr 2021
5
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I live 25 miles from my nearest M.&.S. and 5 miles from my nearest Aldi. Therefore, I am not going to take a 50 mile round trip to buy this cake in M.&.S. but if I saw a similar cake in Aldi and wanted one, I would buy it. I find Aldi’s cakes excellent and much better value that M.&.S. In this day and age too, a lot of people cannot afford M.&.S prices, particularly, families on a budget.
Nannypink
18th Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
I feel this is totally unnecessary of M&S and especially at this time, given that some people may have lost jobs and money being tight.....what happened to freedom of choice anyway.
M&S may have caused themselves damage by taking this action
KarenS883
18th Apr 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
These two retailers appeal to completely different customers, so the likelihood of losing business must be exceptionally low. Back in the 70’s I made different cakes for my children’s’ birthdays including caterpillars, (and hedgehogs and anything else I could think of), so the idea is NOT unique.
Billythequiche
17th Apr 2021
6
Thanks for voting!
Had to happen sooner or later. They have blatently used look-a-likes for years to fool customers. Having worked in food for over 50 years before retiring, things may have been produced in the same factories but the recipes and quality of ingredients varies to an extent that is astounding. I am not against Aldi, just be aware of what you are really buying.
viking
17th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
Making the cartons and wrappers similar to the leading brand, has been their hallmark since entering the UK. It has to be realised why this has been done in the first place,- to confuse the shopper.
A stand has to be made before this sort of tactic prevails.
If their own celebration cake was that good, why try this trick.
Billythequiche
18th Apr 2021
-1
Thanks for voting!
You are correct, they are the leaders in this but by no means the only ones. Own labels mimicking brand leaders are rife on the supermarket shelves. The shape and font on products like shampoo is typical. It can be argued that people are not that gullible, but that is missing the point. KarenS883 noted that M&S customers are not likely to be influenced to buy a cheaper alternative from Aldi but, again, that is not the issue. At best it is shameless chicanery, at worst it is lying and fraudulent. It might seem petty but the limits must be tested in court.
I must declare a personal motive, Christmas Reindeer and Easter Bunnies. I have tasted both and the difference in taste and "mouthfeel" between Lindt and Aldi is huge and obvious.
jeffsoo
17th Apr 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
It's a blatant attempt to confuse the public
Bald123
17th Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I love the UK so much. The world is going to the dogs with chaos and here with our wonderful freedom of speech we are having court cases and arguing about chocolate caterpillars! You really could not make it up.
DanielD57
18th Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Uk does not have freedom of speech we have freedom of expression. Might sound the same but there are significant differences
Bald123
18th Apr 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
What is the difference? I can speak about anything I want in a pub or a public place. I will not get arrested. Try doing that in many other countries. Surly speech and expression are the same...or similar?
Munsterlander
17th Apr 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
It's not exactly a trademark or a patented product. M&S should put their energy into new products

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