Express & Star

Aldi loses court battle with M&S over festive gin bottles design

The ruling could mean Aldi having to pay damages to M&S or pass on profits from sales of the product.

An Aldi store sign

Aldi has lost a court battle against Marks & Spencer after being accused of copying its light-up Christmas gin bottles.

The High Court ruled that Aldi infringed the design of its rival’s product, in a major blow to the German discounter, which had denied the accusations.

The ruling could mean Aldi having to pay damages to M&S or pass on profits from sales of the product.

Marks and Spencer court case
A Marks & Spencer light-up gin bottle (left) and Aldi’s version (Stobbs IP/PA)

Aldi has said it will appeal against the judgment.

M&S sued Aldi for allegedly infringing the design of its “light-up gin bottles” which were sold during Christmas 2020, claiming that Aldi’s 2021 gold flake blackberry and clementine gin liqueurs were “strikingly similar” to its own products.

Lawyers for M&S said their client’s designs were part of its “Gin Globes Project” which saw products first launched in 2019.

The high street bellwether said the idea for a light in the base of the bottle came to a product developer who saw lighting shops in London’s Kensington High Street.

An M&S spokesman said: “We are pleased with the judgment, which 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.”

An Aldi spokesman said: “We are disappointed with this judgment and will be appealing the decision.

“Aldi is committed to offering customers the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices.”

The case was the latest legal wrangle between the companies, after M&S had previously accused the discount supermarket chain of copying the design of its Colin the Caterpillar cake.

The firms reached a settlement over the dispute last year.

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