Aldi loses appeal against High Court ruling over M&S copycat gin bottle

The Court of Appeal has dismissed Aldi’s appeal over last year’s ruling that the discounter copied M&S light-up festive gin bottle design, which legal experts have described as a “right decision”.

Today (27 February), despite Aldi’s attempts to highlight the difference between the integrated lights, snow effect and bottle shape between the two rival products, the judge ruled that the discounter did in fact infringe copyright laws.

The Judge said: “In my judgment and with the design corpus in mind, each of those similarities would appear significant to the informed user and cumulatively they would be striking.”

Osborne Clarke LLP partner Richard May called the outcome of the appeal a “right decision” for all brands and designers.

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May added: “The first instance judgment was a good solid decision and it’s good to see the Court of Appeal endorsing it. This decision is great for M&S and a favourable decision for designers.”

“This is a very welcome decision for brand owners following so soon after Aldi’s recent lookalike success against Thatchers lemon cider. It emphasises that registered designs are a very useful form of protection against lookalike products and rights holders can achieve success with the right case”

“Brand owners should create a thicket of registered rights around products by registering designs as well as trade marks in the fight against lookalikes.”

A M&S Spokesperson said: “We love to innovate for our customers and we’re proud of our suppliers who help us bring exciting new products to market every year.  That’s why we take  intellectual property seriously and will always defend our rights against infringement – companies that seek to copy rather than innovate harm hundreds of small suppliers who have invested in innovation to grow their business”

The latest ruling follows in a series of successes for Aldi in similar copyright cases.

Last month Aldi won a court case against Thatchers when a High Court judge ruled there was “no likelihood of confusion” the two products.

In 2022, Aldi and M&S reached an agreement over its Colin the Caterpillar cake lawsuit, in which the discounter was again accused of copying the upmarket grocer’s designs.

Grocery Gazette has reached out to Aldi and M&S for comment.



2 Comments. Leave new

  • In disputes generally it is never good to come second and intellectual property law disputes are no different. So Aldi can only look to drown its sorrows in gin as its appeal that it did not infringe the bottle design of Marks and Spencer failed in the Court of Appeal . A Marks and Spencer spokesperson said “…… companies that seek to copy rather than innovate harm hundreds of small suppliers who have invested in innovation to grow their business.” Which is something of a hostage to fortune given previous situations where it has been claimed that Marks & Spencer were the infringer.

    • Susan Taylor
      March 5, 2024 8:55 am

      Exactly! Also trading on copied or very similar packaging is an attempt to fool their customers that the contents are the same but cheaper.


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