Marks & Spencer has lodged an intellectual property claim against Aldi over its Cuthbert the caterpillar cake.

M&S have made the claim that Cuthbert is too similar to their own Colin the caterpillar and believe the cake infringes on their own trademark. The complaint was made on the 15th of April even though Aldi’s cake had been removed from shops the previous February.

This led to a string of tweets from Aldi’s official account regarding the legal action. Some of these tweets included “@JudgeRinderTV how’s your diary looking? Asking for a friend” (referring to TV Judge Robert Rinder) and “Marks & Snitches more like”. 

Many people on social media joined the side of Aldi in its complaints over M&S’ actions  resulting in the hashtag FreeCuthbert to trend on Twitter. A multitude of brands also responded to the situation with the twitter accounts of fashion brands Missguided and PrettyLittleThing both making light of the situation.

M&S was the first British supermarket to create a caterpillar themed cake, however Morrisons, Waitrose, Sainsburys, Asda and Tesco all have their own versions of a caterpillar cake prompting many to speculate whether M&S will also file claims against them.

This is not the first time a company has attempted to trademark their food products.In 2018 Nestle attempted and failed to register its KitKat bars 4 finger shape.

Five days after M&S made the claim, Aldi tweeted out, “Hey @marksandspencer can Colin and Cuthbert be besties? We’re bringing back a limited edition Cuthbert and want to donate profits to cancer charities including your partners @macmilliancancer & ours @teenagecancer. Let’s raise money for charity, not lawyers #caterpillarsforcancer.”

M&S have often used Colin as part of their charity initiatives with a special version being made annually in order to raise money for Macmillan.

In response, Marks & Spencer replied with, “Hey @AldiUK we love a charity idea (Colin’s been a BIG fundraiser for years). We just want you to use your own character. How about #kevinthecarrotcake ? that ideas on us… and we promise we won’t do Keith”.

Image Credit: Ben Sutherland

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