Mondelez International which makes Cadbury Dairy Milk bars, has lost its battle with Nestle to keep the exclusive use of the colour purple in its packaging of chocolate products. The UK court of Appeals overturned a decision in 2012 that ruled the shade of purple was distinctive to the Cadbury Dairy Milk bars. The 2012 decision by the UK Trade Mark Registry, allowed Cadbury to retain trademark protection over the purple packaging of its milk chocolate bars.
The High Court in October 2012 rejected Nestle's appeal, ruling that the packaging used for Cadbury chocolate bars was distinctive enough to merit trademark protection. Trademark protection for colours is difficult to achieve, and must satisfy the criteria of “capable of being represented graphically” and “capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings". Cadbury had argued that the colour had been used for such a long period of time that it had become synonymous with Cadbury in the minds of the British people. The company has been using the colour purple since the 1920.
Judge John Mummery handing down the verdict said the trademark applied for:
Lacks the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration.
The ruling will allows all confectioners to sell chocolate bars with same shade of purple. packaging as Cadbury milk chocolate bars. Spokesman for Nestle, James Maxton said:
We believe this was the right outcome from a legal perspective.