Image via Faiz Zaki / Shutterstock.com
Cadbury’s attempt to expand the reach of its trademark purple has been denied by the UK’s Court of Appeal, which could leave the chocolate brand vulnerable.
The color, which was chosen by the confectionary company in the 1800s to honor Queen Victoria, was trademarked in 1995 as PANTONE 2685C. Cadbury’s ownership of the shade still stands, but its plans to trademark the color on products other than chocolate bars have ended on a bitter note.
The Court ruled that Cadbury’s wish to trademark the color so that it could be “applied to the whole visible surface, or being the predominant colour applied to the whole visible surface, of the packaging of the goods” was denied because it was too broad.
By the looks of it, Cadbury had hoped to gain a monopoly of the purple in any form, be it a small or major part of its packaging design, or across all products.
Cadbury’s filing was subsequently challenged by rival Nestlé.
Lord Justice Floyd detailed, “If allowed to be the predominant color rather than restricted to the whole surface, the registration could cover uses of purple in extravagantly different ways… [such as] as stripes, spots, a large central blob, or in any other form.”
According to Rebecca Anderson-Smith, trademark attorney at law firm Mewburn Ellis, the decision is a “significant blow” to the company and could leave it vulnerable to imitations and attacks by competitors like Nestlé.
Responding to the Court’s ruling, a spokesperson for Cadbury’s parent company, Mondelez International, regrettably said, “We are disappointed… Our iconic color purple has been used for Cadbury chocolate products for more than a century and is synonymous with the brand.”
“We will continue to protect what we believe is a distinctive trademark and challenge those who attempt to pass off their products as Cadbury chocolate by using this color.”