Marks and Spencer and Aldi have called a truce to their caterpillar cake war, after the high street stalwart settled its lawsuit with the German discount supermarket.
M&S had last year launched legal action against Aldi over the design and packaging of its “Cuthbert the Caterpillar” cake, saying Aldi’s version copied its own “Colin the Caterpillar” product and infringed trademarks.
The two parties have reached a confidential agreement. Although the terms have not been made public, M&S said on Tuesday: “The objective of the claim was to protect the IP in our Colin the Caterpillar cake and we are very pleased with the outcome.”
M&S had called on Aldi to stop selling Cuthbert, but the budget supermarket group implied that the settlement was not the end for its insect-themed sponge roll cake. Aldi said: “Cuthbert is free and looking forward to seeing all his fans again very soon!”
Cuthbert was withdrawn after the legal claim was first filed at the High Court in April 2021, but Aldi later released a limited edition version of the cake in May, with proceeds from sales going to cancer charities.
The claim was settled on November 5 and a consent order was signed off on January 27, resolving the case.
“Colin the Caterpillar” has been on sale at M&S since 1990 and more than 15m Colin cakes have been sold, M&S has expanded Colin and female version Connie into a wider range including cupcakes, trifles, sweets and chocolates.
Other supermarkets, including Tesco, Asda and J Sainsbury have also released named caterpillar-shaped cakes in green packaging but Aldi is the only one to have been subject to legal action.
In December, M&S also launched a legal claim against Aldi over the sale of an illuminated gin bottle with gold flakes through it, alleging that it copied its “Light Up” Christmas Gin.
The German company has said it makes products that are “easily identifiable for customers without seeking to copy” but several brands have taken issue with its own-label products. Sausage-maker Heck, for instance, has branded it a “parasite” for imitating the packaging of its Chicken Italia range.
In 2020, Aldi released its take on BrewDog’s Punk IPA product — an “Anti-Establishment IPA”. The two companies subsequently reached agreement and the brewer now produces “ALD IPA” that is sold in the supermarket.
Make-up producer Charlotte Tilbury successfully took copyright action against Aldi in 2019 for selling cosmetics similar to its line of products.
The outcome of the Colin case was first reported by legal publication Law360.