// Aldi is found to have infringed M&S’ design rights with its copycat light-up gin
// The discounter says it will appeal the decision
Aldi has been found to have infringed M&S’ designs with its copycat festive light-up gin, the High Court ruled today.
M&S started selling its light-up gin liqueur range, which contains gold flakes, in autumn 2020 while Aldi launched its Infusionist gin liqueur, which also contains gold flakes and a light-up bottom, a year later.
M&S launched its design infringement claim within weeks of the Aldi launch and sought an injunction to restrain Aldi from infringing its designs, requiring it to surrender or destroy its stock and pay damages plus costs.
Today, His Honour Judge Hacon of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court said: “Going back to the statutory test, it is whether the [registered designs] in suit and the Aldi bottles produce a different overall impression. In my judgement, they do not because of the features they have in common.”
Aldi has vowed to appeal the decision.
Aldi had relied on the fact that its Infusionist gin liqueur had the words ‘The Infusionist Small Batch’ on the front as a point of difference from M&S’s registered designs, on which no words appear.
However, Hacon said that differences were of “relatively minor detail”.
Features such as the integrated light, the snow effect of the gold flakes, and bottle shape were seen as being held in common.
Aldi could be forced to pay damages to M&S and may be handed an injunction to prevent it from selling the product again.
An M&S spokesperson said the judgement “demonstrates the importance of protecting our innovation”.
“For over 138 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.
“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.
“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 quality, innovation and value.”
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An Aldi spokesperson said: “Aldi is committed to offering customers the highest-quality products, at the lowest possible prices,” she said.
The pair have history when it comes to legal disputes.
Last year they settled out of court after M&S accused Aldi’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake of infringing the trademark of its famous Colin cake.
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