Cadbury win choc colour purple fight

Cadbury is the proud owner of the colour purple, a High Court Judge has ruled. At least, when it's wrapped around several blocks of sugar, milk, cocoa and emulsifiers, that is.

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.

The Colour Purple

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 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."

She went on: "I don't think it opens the door wide open for the registration of colour marks in the UK. I think it will still be difficult for brand owners to register colours as trade marks without significant evidence of long-standing use and that the colour is exclusively associated with that brand.

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 connection

Cadbury 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.

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