Minor tweaks keep Asda out of court

ASDA is maintaining its maverick stance in the copycat debate by tweaking packaging of its controversial spirits brands as part of an out-of-court settlement with Grand Metropolitan.

The companies had been due to meet in court following claims by GrandMet’s spirits division IDV, that some Asda own-brand products copied its brands (DW 13 December 1996). Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Malibu and Archers Peach Schnapps were alleged to have been copied by Asda’s Daniel Boone’s, Deep South, Windward and Asda Peach Schnapps.

IDV has halted its action in exchange for packaging modifications to the Asda products. The minor changes will be introduced over the next three months. They include subtle bottle-shape alterations, the omission of the word Daniel and adjustments to type.

Both versions of the packaging were created by Elmwood, which is also responsible for much of Asda’s beer and wine labelling.

Asda’s move follows the infamous Puffin vs Penguin case, concluded in March, after which it was obliged to change the packaging of its own-brand chocolate biscuits, by Ian Logan Design.

Intellectual property specialist Stephen Groom at solicitor Lewis Silkin says the similarity of the replacements, “does underline the difficulty brand owners have when they try to prevent packaging which they feel is too similar to their own”.

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