Cadbury wins right to the colour purple
Chocolate-maker can see off trademark challenge from rival Nestlé after registrar's brand ruling
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Wednesday 16 November 2011
Cadbury has fought off Nestlé over exclusive rights for the distinctive purple colour it has used on chocolate wrappers for more than 100 years. The Cadbury brothers are thought to have picked the colour as a tribute to Queen Victoria.
The group, which has been locked in a legal battle with its rival for three years, was granted a trademark for the tint – pantone 2865c – to be used on certain chocolate goods such as Dairy Milk in 2008. Nestlé challenged the ruling, arguing that the colour was not distinctive enough to receive a trademark.
The Swiss group's challenge appears to have failed after the registrar at the UK Intellectual Property Office this week ruled in Cadbury's favour, saying it had showed enough "distinctive character" for a trademark. One legal expert said that while it was an interim judgment, the decision was unlikely to be changed in the final report. Nestlé can appeal the decision.
A spokesman for Cadbury said the group was "pleased" with the ruling, adding that the colour was something those at the company "jealously guard".
In his ruling, Allan James, the registrar, said the colour purple had built a distinctive character associated with Cadbury. He added that the colour had been used in its advertising campaigns to distinguish the brand. One of the most popular of those campaigns in recent times was the use of a gorilla playing the drums. He rejected claims that Cadbury had registered the colour in bad faith as "absurd".
Fiona McBride, a partner at Withers & Rogers, described the decision as a "major relief" for Cadbury, saying its use of the colour was now "iron-clad and the brand will be unlikely to face further challenges over the use of the colour purple in the future".
Yet, executives at Kraft, which bought Cadbury in a controversial takeover deal earlier this year, will not get carried away with the victory. The trademark was limited to using the colour on its chocolate bars and chocolate drinks. It had not proved such a distinctive character in all confectionery chocolate, Mr James said, or for protection in relation to assortments such as its Roses chocolates. "Both sides have achieved a measure of success, Cadbury more so than Nestlé," he added.
Ms McBride said: "Colour registrations are notoriously difficult to obtain, largely because it can be difficult to prove sufficient use to demonstrate that the colour has become synonymous with the brand in the mind of the consumer."
Cadbury first applied to patent the colour in 2004, although it was not approved for another four years. Cadbury did try to stop the Australian confectioner Darrell Lea from using purple on its packaging. Three years ago, however, its complaint was rejected by the Federal Court in Melbourne.
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 4 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...
£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...