Cadbury wins legal battle over purple packaging

Cadbury owns the colour purple – in chocolate packaging terms at least, a High Court judge has ruled.

Kit Kat-maker Nestlé took Cadbury, which was two years ago gobbled up by the US giant Kraft, to court to challenge an earlier ruling which gave the Creme Egg-maker exclusive use of the particular colour purple – Pantone 2685C – as used in Dairy Milk packaging.

It is the latest twist in a battle lasting four years, with Nestlé wanting to challenge a ruling from December 2011 that covered chocolate bars and drinks. Nestlé claimed that colours could not be protected as a trademark. However Judge Colin Birss ruled yesterday that colours are "capable of being signs" and determined that the famous shade of "Cadbury purple" had become linked with the Birmingham-based company's chocolate for more than 90 years.

Judge Birss added: "The evidence clearly supports a finding that purple is distinctive of Cadbury for milk chocolate."

The original ruling from the Intellectual Property Office found that it was satisfied Cadbury provided evidence of its use of the colour since first making Dairy Milk in 1914. But its trademark did not cover chocolate cakes or assortments, which is why Nestlé's boxes of Quality Street contain the brazil nut chocolate wrapped in purple.

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