Marks & Spencer launches action in UK against Aldi over Colin the Caterpillar trademark

Retailer wants rival chain to stop selling Cuthbert the Caterpillar product

 Marks & Spencer’s Colin the Caterpillar cake. Photograph: M&S/PA Wire

Marks & Spencer’s Colin the Caterpillar cake. Photograph: M&S/PA Wire


Marks & Spencer (M&S) has started legal action in the UK against Aldi, claiming that its rival’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar product infringes a trademark for its Colin the Caterpillar cake.

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

M&S wants Aldi to remove the Cuthbert product from sale and agree not to sell anything similar in the future. The product is not for sale in Aldi's Irish stores.

M&S launched Colin the Caterpillar about 30 years ago and his appearance has been substantially unchanged since about 2004, except for adaptations for events such as Halloween and Christmas, and the release of related products such as Connie the Caterpillar.

The product is central to M&S’s partnership with cancer charity Macmillan.

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 for the retailer 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.” – PA