Cadbury Loses out on Trademark Quest

Cadbury Loses out on Trademark Quest

This year the manufacturer, Cadbury, failed in its ongoing ten year quest to register its well recognised shade of purple, used on many of its wrappers, as a UK trademark.

Back in 2004 Cadbury registered this purple as a trademark in relation to various of its chocolate products. When it did so, competitor Nestle challenged the registration and, since 2004, the two companies have been locked in an ongoing court battle.

In 2011 the UK’s Intellectual Property Office upheld the trademark in relation to specific Cadbury goods. Nestle was then quick to go to the High Court which also upheld the trademark but restricted it to certain chocolate products. Nestle then took the case to the Court of Appeal, who found in favour of Nestle, and did not uphold Cadbury’s trademark registration for the colour purple.

There are a lot of manufacturers out there who rely on iconic colours as a means of distinguishing their brand and their goods. In this case, although Cadbury failed in its quest to trademark the iconic purple, it still has common law rights which allow it to protect the goodwill which has been built up by it over many years of trading. Therefore just because Cadbury has lost the registered trademark this will not prevent Cadbury from raising actions against any imitators, for passing off the purple colour, on competing goods and products.

Although Cadbury were unsuccessful in their application for continued trademark registration, a large number of businesses are successful in registering trademarks to protect branding through words, logos, shapes, sounds and smells.
This briefing has been produced for information purposes only and is based on the law and other information available at the time of writing. We cannot be held responsible for any losses incurred through acting or failing to act on the basis of anything contained in this briefing.

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