Aldi loses Court of Appeal battle against M&S

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by German supermarket chain Aldi over a ruling made last year which stated the discounter copied Marks and Spencer’s festive gin bottle design.

Aldi had attempted to highlight the difference between elements of the design and bottle shape concerning the two rival products, however the judge ruled that the discounter infringed copyright laws.

Mike Shaw, partner at intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk, said: “It is reassuring to see that the Court of Appeal has upheld the earlier court decision finding that Aldi's light-up gin bottle design infringed the registered designs owned by Marks & Spencer.

“Whilst Aldi had sought to challenge the earlier decision on the basis of a number of interesting legal points, the Court of Appeal dismissed each of Aldi's appeal grounds and maintained the decision that Aldi's gin bottle design produced the same overall impression as that of the registered designs owned by Marks & Spencer,” Shaw added. 

“The Court of Appeal decision clearly illustrates the value of securing registered design protection for new product designs.  In particular, design registrations can be used alongside other IP rights, such as registered trademarks and copyright, to provide a thicket of protection for new products.  This is of real value when tackling lookalike products, by presenting potential infringers with multiple obstacles to surmount when attempting to design around those IP rights,” continued Shaw.