The ruling is a blow for key rival Nestlé which argued colours could not be practically trademarked for commercial advantage. Not so, claims High Court Judge Colin Birss.
Cadbury's Dairy Milk has been wrapped in the specific shade of Pantone 2685C (to be exact) since the start of the First World War. But Nestle had argued that colours could not be trademarked.
The Colour Purple
"The evidence clearly supports a finding that purple is distinctive of Cadbury for milk chocolate," Judge Birss claims. Nestle had previously challenged a Kraft-owned Cadbury ruling in 2011 over the right to use the colour purple for chocolate bar and drink packaging, but this has been upheld.
Jo Alderson, an associate in the intellectual property team at Pinsent Masons law firm, told AOL Money the judge's move was unusual. "A trade mark registration for a particular colour is a very powerful tool to keep competitors at bay and helps prevent me-too products."
It's not surprising that Nestle tried to prevent the registration of the Cadbury purple mark, she adds, "as it gives Cadbury a significant advantage in this marketplace."
British public connectionCadbury press spokesperson Tony Bilsborough said he welcomed the decision to protect the distinctive shade across a range of its 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."
Nestle, in turn, owns a rash of other chocolate brands, including Kit Kat (red and silver), Milky bar (cream, white, red), After Eight (black, brown, green) and Jelly Tots (take your tint of choice), to name a few. So there could be more work for lawyers down the road here.