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The Colour Purple

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A ruling in the High Court means that Cadbury owns the exclusive rights to use its famous purple shaded packaging for milk chocolate bars and drinking chocolate. Nestle had opposed Cadbury’s trade mark application for that particular shade of purple, arguing that a colour should not be capable of trade mark protection. The judge disagreed, pointing out that Cadbury had used the distinctive colour on its Diary Milk bars since 1914 and concluding that as “the public associate the colour purple itself with Cadbury’s chocolate, Cadbury are entitled to a registered trade mark for that colour on the relevant goods.”

I’m sure that Cadbury is delighted to have got one over on its rival Nestle. It’s very difficult to secure the registration of a colour trade mark and Cadbury has faced a long battle to get their particular shade of purple registered as the original trade mark application was submitted in 2004!

As this follows hot on the heels of the recent judgment in favour of Christian Louboutin who has secured the trademark for the distinctive red used on the soles of shoes he designs, does this mean that the flood gates will now open with regards to colour trade mark registrations? I think that this is very unlikely as the decision by the High Court in the Cadbury case reinforces the view that registration of a single colour mark is only possible where there is a high level of public recognition for that colour.

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