Another case involving the issue of registering a colour as a trademark came to an end in the U.K. last week.
A ruling by the U.K. Court of Appeal overturned a 2012 ruling granting Cadbury U.K. exclusive use of the purple colour (Pantone 2865c) featured on its packaging of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolates. The trademark was originally granted to Cadbury in 2004 for use on chocolate bars and drinking chocolate in the U.K. In 2008, Swiss food and beverage manufacturer Nestlé challenged the Cadbury trademark claiming it was too vague and could suffer abuse. Last week’s ruling paves the way for any company, including Nestlé, to market chocolate products using Pantone 2865c on its packaging.
Cadbury’s use of purple packaging on Dairy Milk and other sweets goes back nearly 100 years. Mondelēz International now owns the brand. A company spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by this latest decision but it’s important to point out that it does not affect our long held right to protect our distinctive colour purple from others seeking to pass off their products as Cadbury chocolate.” He went on to say, “Our colour purple has been linked with Cadbury for a century and the British public has grown up understanding its link with our chocolate.” He did not rule out the possibility of an appeal.
According to the BBC, Nestlé welcomed the court decision as “the right outcome from a legal perspective.”
Registering a trademark for a colour has long been the subject of debate. Check out our earlier post about trademarks for everything from UPS brown to Owens Corning pink.
Do you think the U.K. court ruling makes it more difficult to register a trademark for a colour?