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M&S sues Aldi over 'copycat' Colin the Caterpillar cake

M&S says that the competitor cake “rides on the coat-tails” of its reputation


Marks and Spencer will take supermarket competitor Aldi to court over its famous Colin the Caterpillar chocolate cake. 

Marks & Spencer’s beloved Colin the Caterpillar cake has been a guest of honour at children’s birthdays and office leaving parties since the beginning of time. With his cute, edible face, swiss-roll-style milk chocolate sponge and brightly coloured candy decorations, birthdays just aren't birthdays without a guest appearance from this iconic cake. Even celebrities such as Taylor Swift, David Beckham and Judi Dench pick him for their birthday celebrations.

Since its invention, Colin the Caterpillar has become a beloved tradition in homes all across the country and continues to grow in popularity. So much so that Marks & Spencer has gone on to launch an entire range of Colin the Caterpillar goodies including cake jars, cupcakes, giant Colin chocolate faces and even a girlfriend cake, Connie the Caterpillar.

Today, however, Colin the Caterpillar is making headlines for other reasons. Marks & Spencer has taken legal action against supermarket chain, Aldi, after claiming the store's Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake infringes on its Colin the Caterpillar trademark.

M&S, lodged an intellectual property claim with the High Court this week and is arguing that 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. The retailer has three trademarks relating to Colin, which it believes means Colin has acquired and retains an enhanced distinctive character and reputation.

Both products are log-shaped chocolate sponge cakes with a solid chocolate shell. M&S’s Colin was launched in 1990, and has remained substantially unchanged since about 2004, except for adaptations for events such as Halloween and Christmas, and related products such as Connie the Caterpillar. Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake has been on sale in Aldi stores since 2019. 

As reported by the BBC, a spokesperson for M&S 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."

M&S was the first retailer to sell a caterpillar cake, but many other UK-based supermarkets have since created their own similar products. ASDA launched a caterpillar called Clyde, Waitrose invented Cecil, Tesco's got Curly and Sainsbury's now sells Wiggles.

Aldi is yet to comment. 


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