Tuesday, 27 January 2015
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Cadbury wins exclusive use of Pantone 2685C purple

Cadbury has won a High Court battle for exclusive use of its signature Pantone 2685C purple, as used in Dairy Milk packaging.

Cadbury Dairy Milk

Cadbury Dairy Milk, using Pantone 2685C purple

The brand, which has used the purple for more than 90 years, has been locked in a legal battle with rival chocolate brand Nestlé for the last four years over the use of the colour.

Kraft-owned branded Cadbury had won a trademark ruling last December over the right to use the colour exclusively for chocolate bar and drink packaging. This was challenged by Nestlé, which claimed the colours could not be used as trademarks.

Nestlé’s appeal was overturned yesterday in the High Court, where it was ruled that the colour has been distinctive of Cadbury for milk chocolate since 1914.

A Cadbury spokesman says, ‘We welcome the decision of the High Court which allows us to register as a Trade Mark and protect our famous Colour Purple across a range of milk chocolate products.

‘Our Colour Purple has been linked with Cadbury for more than a century and the British public have grown up understanding its link with our chocolate.’

The trademark applies to milk chocolate bars and drinks only.

Readers' comments (18)

  • Surely this is complete madness.
    Ok the company have a right to protect their brand, but exclusive use of a colour?

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  • I can't believe this. This is such a stupid idea to exclusively trademark a colour. This legislation will just cause more issues further down the line when banks, cellular networks and other large companies try to do the same thing. Imagine these large companies fighting for red, green, blue.

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  • Don't other companies already do this? Tiffany Blue for example? I don't really see the problem; if you're designing a competitor product, surely you would completely avoid any colour that resembles Cadbury anyway... This simply means a design can't actively rip off Cadbury.

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  • This isn't a free for all - bear in mind that Cadbury's registration is limited to their specific goods and that they had to prove that they had been using the colour exclusively for years before the registration was granted. You cannot just pitch up and register any colour without a significant reputation attached to it. No need to panic!

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  • Oh dear. Alex and Daniel didn't read the article, or at least ignored the final line:

    "The trademark applies to milk chocolate bars and drinks only". They've not got exclusivity on the colour outside of that sphere. It seems perfectly reasonably to trademark a strong and historic association with that colour and chocolate products.

    And breathe...

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  • I really don't see what the deal is, Harrods have exclusive use of green, Selfridges have exclusive use of yellow and as Ben says Tiffany has a blue. Having an identity as a brand whether it is a logo or a colour is important and all should be safe guarded under a trademark.

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  • It is pretty much standard practice for a company to gain rights for their own specific brand guidelines. Like what Simon and Sakarias have mentioned. IBM also have their blue, microsoft have their flag colours but it isn't set in stone. They have a certain length time of how long they can possess the itemed lease of the trademark and companies can rebrand at any point but Cadbury couldn't do that, people associate instantly that colour from a distance.

    Nestle are a younger brand, they did not really have any ground to stand on apart from they're a confectionary company and were set on to buying out commerical territory.

    Congrats to Cadbury's I say. =]

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  • I think this is a little hypocritical, Cadbury did not 'invent' the colour purple 2685C, they are merely allowed to use it thanks to the hardwork of those lovely Pantone peeps. I agree that use of a specific colour can strengthen a brand and increase it's identification in the consumer mind, but exclusive use is a little too far. Could I take the same line and demand exclusive rights to use a particular typeface, even though I have not designed it myself?

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  • Kam: Cadbury's have been using that particular shade of purple since 1914. Pantone didn't 'invent' purple or any other colour; what they did was codify colours in the 1950s to make printing more consistent. So only after that would the Cadbury purple have been identified as correlating to the Pantone 2685C purple.

    As the article makes clear, Cadbury does not 'own' the colour purple exclusively and unconditionally, they just have the right to use that particular colour for their chocolate bars and drinks without others trying to rip of their branding.

    Re your last point, you could indeed demand exclusive rights to a typeface that you haven't designed yourself if you have a relevant contract with the designer (which you would usually be expected to pay for).

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  • @ Kam Rehal; Cadbury's have not been granted exclusive use of any colour. They have been granted protection of the use of Pantone 2685C purple as part of their trade dress within specific industry sectors.

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