Somerset cider maker loses legal battle with supermarket chain

Martin Thatcher

Somerset cider maker Thatchers has  lost out in its court battle with supermarket chain Aldi.

Thatchers had claimed a trademark had been breached by the supermarket with its cloudy cider lemon.

The family owned firm, which is run by Martin Thatcher, launched a legal action against Aldi in September 2022 over its cloudy lemon cider.

Thatchers claimed Aldi had infringed on its trademark by creating and selling its Taurus cider – which was  a similar product.

The courts ruled that there is no likelihood of confusion between the brands and dismissed Thatchers’ claim.

An Aldi spokesperson said: “There’s nothing cloudy about this judgement. It’s clear cut. Aldi exclusive brands are just that: exclusive to Aldi while leading the market on quality and price.”

Iain Connor, partner and head of intellectual property at UK law firm Michelmores, said: “It’s a great day for consumers in a cost-of-living crisis. The case shows that the discounters can lawfully sell ‘look-a-like’ products at much cheaper prices than the big brand alternatives.

“Thatchers was unable to prove that Aldi’s massive sales of Taurus Cloudy Lemon Cider were because the cider ‘rode on the coattails’ of Thatchers’ marketing investment of its premium product Thatchers Cloudy Lemon Cider.

“Consumers were not confused into thinking the Aldi look-a-like was in some way connected with the Thatchers’ product.

“This decision is important because it will embolden the discounters to continue to copy the market leaders and produce look-a-like products.”

Speaking from Myrtle Farm, the family home of Thatchers Cider, fourth generation cider maker Martin Thatcher said, “As a Somerset family expertly crafting cider for 120 years, we were compelled to bring this case as we were concerned that the packaging of international retailer Aldi’s product was misleading shoppers due to the strong resemblance to Thatchers Cloudy Lemon Cider.

“We’re disappointed that the Judge didn’t agree with us. Despite the decision not going our way, we still believe taking this action was the right thing to do. We care about creating the perfect cider and thanks to a proud history of four generations of expert cider makers innovating and investing, we have done just that.

“So we will continue to innovate, producing premium ciders that people want to buy and enjoy.”