Aldi laugh off M&S legal bid to protect £7 Colin the Caterpillar cake

Aldi laugh off M&S legal bid to protect its £7 Colin the Caterpillar cake, pitching a ten-part true crime documentary to Netflix called ‘Making a caterpillar’

  • Supermarket made fun of rival after they launched an intellectual property claim
  • They argued Cuthbert the Caterpillar was too similar to their 30-year-old version
  • But on Friday, Aldi took to Twitter to make a series of jokes about the legal action
  • In one post, they said they were planning to pitch a Netflix documentary 
  • Another showed their rival product with prison bars superimposed on the front 

Aldi has laughed off Marks & Spencer’s legal bid to protect its £7 Colin the Caterpillar cake. 

In a series of Twitter posts, the budget supermarket made fun of its rival after they launched an intellectual property claim with the High Court this week.

M&S has argued the similarity of Aldi’s £4.99 Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake to its product misleads consumers, who might think they are of the same standard.

But on Friday, Aldi joked online that they were planning to pitch a ten-part documentary to Netflix with the title ‘Making a Caterpillar’, a reference to the popular series Making a Murderer.

In another post, they shared an image of their rival product with prison bars over the front of it. Above the image they wrote: ‘Packaging update’. 

They also mocked M&S’s name by calling it ‘Marks & Snitches’ and jokingly referred to its famous advertising tagline by adding: ‘This is not just any court case, this is…’. 

Aldi has laughed off Marks & Spencer’s legal bid to protect its £7 Colin the Caterpillar cake (pictured)  

In a series of Twitter posts, the budget supermarket made fun of its rival after they launched an intellectual property claim with the High Court this week

M&S launched their legal action even though other supermarkets also carry similar products on their shelves. 

Sainsbury’s sells a caterpillar cake called Wiggles for £6 and Tesco features Curly the Caterpillar for the same price. 

Despite this, M&S wants Aldi to remove the cake from sale as well as agree not to sell anything similar in the future.

In their Twitter response, Aldi also joked in one post: ‘Just Colin our lawyers’.

They also referenced their other rivals’ versions by adding: ‘Cecil, Wiggles, Curly, Clyde. We got you.’ 

Another post showed a jokey court sketch of Cuthbert the Caterpillar flanked by guards, along with a hash tag of ‘FreeCuthbert’. 

On Friday, Aldi joked online that they were planning to pitch a ten-part documentary to Netflix with the title ‘Making a Caterpillar’

Another post showed a jokey court sketch of Cuthbert the Caterpillar flanked by guards, along with a hash tag of ‘FreeCuthbert’

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. 

Meanwhile, reports of the Cuthbert the Caterpillar version first emerged in 2019.

Two years ago M&S responded to a customer’s Tweet about Aldi’s cake with a picture of spiderman and the comment: ‘Hmm, my spidey senses are tingling… we definitely spot an impostor.’ 

Reports of the Cuthbert the Caterpillar version (pictured) first emerged in 2019

Two years ago M&S responded to a customer’s Tweet about Aldi’s cake with a picture of spiderman and the comment: ‘Hmm, my spidey senses are tingling… we definitely spot an impostor’

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. 

Earlier today, M&S took to Instagram with an image of the signature cake which was annotated with the slogan: ‘The original and the best.’

It was posted alongside a caption that read: ‘You might have seen @official_colinthecaterpillar is in the news… Colin won’t be commenting, but says thanks for your support #OGColin’

Earlier this week, M&S took to Instagram with an image of the signature cake which was annotated with the slogan: ‘The original and the best’

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.

‘So we want to protect Colin, Connie and our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value.’

Last year, M&S launched a new cake delivery service where you can send a loved one a Colin the Caterpillar cake and gift bag filled with treats for £20. 

Emmy Hunt, trade mark specialist and partner at European intellectual property law firm, Potter Clarkson, said: ‘Marks and Spencer’s claim is unlikely to be strong in respect of any assertions around consumer confusion between the two products, but it might succeed if it relies on the market reputation that its Colin the Caterpillar range has established over many years.

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. Pictured, an Easter version 

‘While we don’t know the background to this claim, it is indicative of the fierce competition between UK supermarkets. 

‘Indeed, other supermarkets also offer caterpillar character cakes, but it appears that Aldi may have sailed too close to the wind from Marks & Spencer’s perspective.

‘It remains to be seen which retailer will have their cake and eat it – it would come as no surprise to see this being settled behind closed doors as so many recent actions against discount retailers have been.’

MailOnline contacted Aldi for comment yesterday. 

If M&S were to be successful in their claim, other imitation products could also be under threat, retail experts told MailOnline yesterday. 

They said a victory for M&S would open a ‘can of worms, because it won’t end, it will be product after product’ – and that all other supermarkets would also possibly have to remove their own versions of the caterpillar cake.

This would create a ‘cascade effect’ amid fears that other equivalents at Lidl and Aldi could also be under threat – such as Freeway Cola, (Coca-Cola), Frosted Flakes (Frosties) and Snaktastic Stacking Potato Snacks (Pringles).   

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