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Thatchers' trade mark and passing off claim against Aldi goes down in a cloud of cider

Somerset-based cider maker Thatchers yesterday lost its trade mark infringement and passing off claim against the discount retailer Aldi. 

The dispute related to the appearance and packaging of Aldi’s cloudy lemon cider, sold under the Taurus brand. 

Thatchers relied on passing off and also alleged infringement of its registered trade mark, which depicted the name and graphics on the label of its product. 

The judge dismissed the claims.  

Although the judge agreed with the claimants that Thatchers' trade mark had established a reputation, and that the Aldi product would call it to mind for the purposes of a 10(3) claim, she held that there was no unfair advantage taken, nor any detriment to the Thatchers trade mark.

The s.10(2) claim failed on the basis of a low degree of similarity and there being no likelihood of confusion.

The passing off claim failed on the basis that there was no evidence that any consumers would believe that the Aldi Product was connected to Thatchers, for example that it is manufactured, or licensed, or approved by Thatchers.

You can find example images of both products in the online judgment here.

"I have conducted my own blind taste test as I was requested to do. I am no expert and have never tasted cloudy lemon cider before. I found the taste of the two products to be very similar, but I accept they are different." HER HONOUR JUDGE MELISSA CLARKE


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