UK Court Upholds Cadbury Purple Packaging Trademark Protection

By Joseph Mandour on October 2, 2012

candy-easter-cadbury-thumb-200x150-30619Orange County – A United Kingdom court ruled on Monday that venerable candy maker Cadbury PLC is entitled to trademark protection for its signature purple wrapping on its milk chocolate bars, in response to a challenge from Nestle, according to news reports.

Judge Colin Birss of the High Court of Justice reportedly ruled that the Pantone 2865C shade of purple has become distinctively identified with Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bars, which Cadbury has packaged in the color since 1914, the New Statesman reported Tuesday.
The judge refused to allow trademark protection for the shade in relation to different types of chocolate, or boxes of chocolate, narrowing Cadbury’s desired range of goods for the trademark to milk chocolate and chocolate drinks.

Nestle Inc. originally opposed Cadbury’s application for a trademark for purple in relation to chocolate in 2008, arguing that the color is not distinctive enough, covered too wide a range of goods and was applied for in bad faith on Cadbury’s part, according to the New Statesman.

Cadbury first applied for the trademark in 2004 in relation to chocolate in bar and tablet form, chocolate confectionery, chocolate assortments, cocoa-based beverages, chocolate-based beverages, preparations for chocolate-based beverages and chocolate cakes. The application was accepted and published in 2008, but could not be officially registered at that time due to Nestle’s challenge.

In November the U.K. Intellectual Property Office ruled that the shade held enough distinctive character to merit a trademark.

Cadbury made Kraft Foods Inc. the world’s largest producer of chocolate when Kraft bought the company in 2010.

“We welcome the decision of the High Court which allows us to register as a trademark and protect our famous color purple across a range of milk chocolate products,” a Cadbury spokesman told Design Week. “Our color purple has been linked with Cadbury for more than a century and the British public have grown up understanding its link with our chocolate.”

Nestle, for its part, told Confectionery News that the court’s decision represents only a partial victory for Cadbury, as it significantly narrowed the scope of the trademark.

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