Trademark Law battle between Cadbury and Nestlé finally over.

Cadbury’s have won their 3 year trademark law battle. Cadbury applied in 2008 to trademark the purple colour, Pantone 2865c in a number of categories, registration was challenged by Nestlé who claimed it “lacked distinctive character”.

The Swiss group’s challenge failed this week after the registrar at the UK Intellectual Property Office ruled in Cadbury’s favour. The IPO said that Cadbury had showed enough “distinctive character” for a trademark and that Cadbury had provided significant evidence of its long-term use of the colour, employed since 1914.

One legal expert said that while this is an interim judgment of the trade mark law case, the decision was unlikely to be changed in the final report. Nestlé can appeal the decision.

Cadbury have the right to trademark the colour for packaging its chocolate in bar and tablet form as well as eating and drinking chocolate. However following Nestlé’s objections, the trademark use does not include chocolate cakes, confectionery or chocolate assortments. This ruling has meant that Nestlé can continue to use a similar purple colour in its Quality Street assortment.

A spokesman for Cadbury said the group was “pleased” with the ruling, he added 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 and he rejected the claims that Cadbury had registered the colour in bad faith as “absurd”. The IPO’s final ruling on this trade mark law case will come “in due course”.

A Nestlé spokesperson of this trade mark law case: “We are awaiting the final decision. In its interim decision the UK IPO has accepted Cadbury’s application only for some of the goods for which Cadbury had applied and rejected it for others, in line with Nestlé’s request. We will assess the final decisions once it has been issued.”

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