Cake Wars in Court – The Curious Tail of Colin the Caterpillar Cake – and his nemesis, Cuthbert

Cake Wars in Court – The Curious Tail of Colin the Caterpillar Cake – and his nemesis, Cuthbert

It’s been all over Twitter, facebook, Instagram and the national newspapers – the story of M&S taking Aldi to court over its imitation of the famous, fabulous Colin the Caterpillar Cake, beloved by children and grown ups of all ages. Basically, M&S is taking legal action over similarities between its Colin the Caterpillar cake and Aldi’s rival product Cuthbert the Caterpillar.

Both cakes are chocolate sponge rolls with solid chocolate covering, white chocolate faces and sweet decoration. M&S believes its competitor’s product represents a trademark infringement and has filed a claim with the High Court.

However, there are other ‘Colin’ lookalikes on the market – including Tesco’s Curly the Caterpillar, Asda’s Clyde, Co-op’s Charlie, Waitrose’s Cecil, and Sainsbury’s Wiggle – so why has M&S taken Aldi to task – when it has known about Cuthbert since 2019, and must surely be acutely aware of all the other Colin colycats?

It’s all to do with intellectual property, and standards.M&S is claiming that Aldi’s Cuthbert infringes Colin’s trademark.

M&S is claiming that their similarity leads consumers to believe they are of the same standard and “rides on the coat-tails” of M&S’s reputation. The result M&S wants is for Aldi to remove the product from sale and agree not to sell anything similar in the future.

Twitter went into meltdown when Aldi appeared to ‘troll’ M&S over the case, making light of the legal wrangle and entertaining twitter users – with the #FreeCuthbert hashtag.

Protecting Colin’s reputation

The Colin the Caterpillar cake, first introduced in 1990, has spawned multiple spin-off products for M&S (see below), including a female version called Connie the Caterpillar, launched in 2016.

“At M&S we are passionate about creating the highest quality, most innovative food for our customers – whether that is 100% British sourced meat or iconic products like Colin the Caterpillar, Percy Pig and our Glitter Gin Globe,” an M&S spokesperson said.

“Because we know the M&S brand is special to our customers and they expect only the very best from us, love and care goes into every M&S product on our shelves. So we want to protect Colin, Connie and our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value.”

According to M&S, Colin has attended over 10 million birthdays since 1990. His partner, Connie has also been a huge hit, with variations on a theme available for Hallow’een and Christmas  and even baby Colins.