In April 2021, M&S raised legal proceedings against Aldi for what would become the infamous Colin v Cuthbert battle. The clash took the internet by storm, with #FreeCuthbert trending on social media platforms.
It is now February 2022, not even a year later, and the supermarkets have announced that the case has been settled. Colin and Cuthbert will not have their day in the High Court.
The supermarket giants have not disclosed the settlement figure or details of the deal, but it is expected that Cuthbert will return with a more differentiated design.
An M&S representative said: “The objective of the claim was to protect the [intellectual property] in our Colin the Caterpillar cake and we are very pleased with the outcome." Meanwhile, Aldi has tweeted that Cuthbert is getting out early on good behaviour.
The caterpillar cake debacle is not the only dispute between M&S and Aldi. M&S are pursuing Aldi in a separate dispute over allegations of copying a light up gin product. M&S have also found themselves on the other end of the stick, embroiled in copyright disputes amid accusations it plagiarised a recipe from Indian restaurant, Dishoom, and copied the Lacoste crocodile logo on its clothing range.
Increasingly now, we see copycat products on the shelves of supermarkets. Colin v Cuthbert was not the first and will not be the last. A settlement was reached in this instance, showing
that alternative methods of dispute resolution can be an effective way of dealing with trademark and copyright disputes.
If you want to read more about Colin v Cuthbert you can do so here.
This article was co-written by Maya Allen, Trainee Solicitor