Asda in court over copycat branding

Supermarket chain Asda’s packaging for its Puffin range of chocolate biscuits was this week accused in court of being “virtually identical” to McVitie’s brand Penguin.

McVitie’s, a United Biscuits subsidiary, is suing Asda for allegedly passing off its own-brand product, launched last year in packaging believed to be designed by Ian Logan Design. It is not known if Ian Logan will be called as a witness.

The High Court case started on Monday with shoppers, called as witnesses by McVitie’s, telling how they have been confused by the similarities in the names and packaging of both products.

Michael Bloch, representing United Biscuits, told the court that not only are the birds similar, but on the packaging for the dark chocolate versions both birds are wearing helmets with lights on them. The Asda website even says “Pick up a Puffin” – a clear copy of the Penguin advertising slogan.

Bloch quoted excerpts from Asda’s design brief for Puffin, which said the biscuit must have “brand-beater characteristics”. He said this meant “having visual signals that influence customers and that they associate with a particular product”. He continued: “The original Puffin design is a clear copy of the Penguin pack.”

Asda claims the depiction of the birds is very different and that the name is merely a humourous reference to penguins.

The case continues.

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