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For those you that haven’t been following the news, Marks and Spencer (M&S) have begun legal action against Aldi, arguing the supermarket’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake infringes its Colin the Caterpillar trademark.

M&S lodged an intellectual property claim with the High Court last week, claiming the similarity leads consumers to believe the two cakes are of the same standard, affecting M&S’s reputation according to the BBC.

Colin the Caterpillar was launched in 1990 and his appearance has been substantially unchanged since around 2004, except for adaptations for events such as Halloween and Christmas, and related products such as Connie the Caterpillar.

Aldi is far from the first to make the imitation; Waitrose’s Cecil, Sainsbury’s Wiggles, Tesco’s Curly, and Asda’s Clyde the Caterpillar are all copies of Colin. But only Aldi has done enough to spark legal action.

So why is a trademark so important? After all, you’ve cracked the idea, had the light bulb moment and come up with the business plan which is going to earn you a fortune. What`s more, you’ve given your project the unforgettable tag which will trip off the lips and make sure everyone remembers who you are.

Litigation Partner, Guy Lightowler comments “It’s important to protect all of your business property. You should think of a trademark as intangible property which also needs protection. The protection of your trademarks can be an important way of increasing your goodwill and expanding your business generally”

When registering a trademark, it seems that steaming in with the first name that comes to mind may not be the best thing to do. “Your business name or brand is one of the most fundamental ways in which customers recognise and interact with you and your brand – therefore it is crucial to get it right!

If you want to use someone else’s intellectual property, you can usually get permission to do so, by buying the rights from them or getting their permission to use it. Using someone’s trademark, patent, copyright or design without their permission is known as ‘IP infringement’.

When disputing a trademark, it’s vital to ensure your solicitor specialises in transactions which involve intellectual property. Here at Gorvins we have several specialists which can tailor their services to suit your needs.

For more information or to discuss your commercial enquiry, contact Litigation Partner Guy Lightowler on 0161 930 5175, email or complete the online form on the right and we will call you back at a time convenient for you.