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    Thatchers sues Aldi for ‘copycatting’ its cider

    German discount supermarket chain Aldi was on Thursday accused by British cider company Thatchers of having “copycatted” its cloudy lemon cider in a case which may leave a bitter taste in the mouth of a High Court judge.

    Family-owned Thatchers is suing Aldi over the retailer’s Taurus cloudy lemon cider, the cans of which it says are branded so similarly that thirsty shoppers will have been “plonking it into their trolley thinking it’s a Thatchers product”.

    Aldi – which, like fellow German discounter Lidl, has faced similar allegations before over its products – is defending the case. Its lawyers say its cloudy lemon cider is “well-distinguishable from the Thatchers product”.

    Judge Melissa Clarke, flanked on the judge’s bench by one of each of the competing cans, was asked to decide whether the design of Aldi’s cider cans infringes Thatchers’ trademark.

    But, unusually, Thatchers’ lawyer Martin Howe also invited the judge to conduct a taste test to find out if Aldi’s offering could damage drinkers’ perception of Thatchers’ reputation.

    Clarke said she was “happy to do so, but not in court”. “I have a ‘no alcohol while sitting’ rule,” she added.

    Howe said the strength of the drink was only 4%, to which Clarke replied: “It is strong enough.”

    The battle may only get more bitter: Howe said in court filings that Thatchers’ lawyers recently wrote to Aldi about similarities between their blood orange cider products – and four cans of each could also be seen in court.

    The case is due to conclude on Friday with a ruling expected at a later date.

    (Reuters)

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