Marks & Spencer and Aldi call a truce in Colin the Caterpillar cake war

Marks & Spencer has settled a copyright row with Aldi over its Colin the Caterpillar cake after the German discounter altered the appearance of a lookalike version.

The spat between the two retailers made headlines in April when M&S logged a legal claim against the German discounter after it began selling a cake called Cuthbert the Caterpillar, which looked similar. 

The companies reached a confidential agreement out of court on Nov 5, legal documents show. They declined to comment on the terms of the settlement. 

M&S’s roll-shaped cake first went on sale more than 30 years ago. It is made of chocolate sponge and buttercream encased in a chocolate shell and dotted with multi-coloured chocolate buttons. 

Last year, Marks claimed that Aldi infringed its trademark and demanded it stop selling the Cuthbert cake and not sell any similar products in the future. 

Aldi at the time said it had not stocked the cake since mid-February last year, but brought it back in May with a slightly altered appearance. Changes included giving Cuthbert white chocolate rather than brown eyes.

M&S said in its original court claim that sales of all Colin the Caterpillar cakes, including sister products such as Connie the Caterpillar and Halloween and Christmas versions, contributed to annual revenues of up to £10.4m a year over the past five years. 

An M&S spokesman said: “The objective of the claim was to protect the IP [intellectual property] in our Colin the Caterpillar cake and we are very pleased with the outcome.”

An Aldi spokesman said: “Cuthbert is free and looking forward to seeing all his fans again very soon.”

M&S has since logged another claim against Aldi, which is still ongoing, about its Christmas gin liqueur with edible gold flakes. 

Last month, however, Marks was itself accused of double standards after it copied a family business’s chocolate designs. It has since agreed to sell Choc on Choc’s products in some stores. 

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