M&S has filed court papers which say that Aldi’s gold flake blackberry and clementine gin liqueurs are “strikingly similar” to the Light Up gin it sold last Christmas and for which it holds a registered design.
It is seeking a High Court injunction restraining Aldi from further alleged infringement of its protected designs, an order for Aldi to destroy or hand over anything constituting a potential breach of the injunction and an inquiry into damages arising from the alleged infringement.
The court papers include the registered design images of M&S Light Up gin. A list of features M&S says are protected include the shape of the bottle, an integrated light feature, gold leaf flakes and a winter forest graphic.
M&S has also provided a number examples of comparisons made in the press between the two products, which it says support its claim.
Both retailer’s gins come in a bell-shaped bottle with a light in the base, which illuminates edible gold flakes in the liquid. The Aldi gin is about £6 cheaper than the basic £20 M&S version.
An M&S spokesperson said: “M&S has a proud history as a leading British innovator and for over 136 years customers have turned to M&S for unique, original, quality products – conceived, created and developed by us working with our trusted suppliers and produced to the highest standards.
“We’ve introduced many firsts to the UK – the first chilled chicken kiev, the introduction of pre-packed sandwiches, glitter gin globes, the first and only retailer to sell 100% RSPCA Assured milk and, of course, our character products.
“So, like many other UK businesses, large and small, we know the true value and cost of innovation and the enormous time, passion, creativity, energy and attention to detail, that goes into designing, developing and bringing a product to market and building its brand over many years.
“Our customers have confidence in our products because they trust our quality and sourcing standards so we will always seek to protect our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value – and protect our customers from obvious copies.”
In April M&S started legal action against Aldi in an effort to protect its Colin the Caterpillar cake with a claim that its rival’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar product infringed its trademark.
M&S, which lodged an intellectual property claim with the High Court, argued the similarity of Aldi’s product led consumers to believe they were of the same standard and “ride on the coat-tails” of M&S’s reputation with the product.
Aldi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.