Just when we have learned that McDonalds’ EU mark was successfully attacked by Supermac’s, a smaller fast-food firm in Ireland, another big gun in the trademark world suffers a defeat.
Cadbury appears to be losing its legal grasp on the specific purple it uses for its classic Dairy Milk packaging.
The chocolate company gave up the trademark last month. Legal experts believe they have done this due to the unenforceable nature of the trademark application following a ruling that the trademark is too far-reaching by the court.
Back in 2012, Cadbury was able to win a case that prevented rival chocolate business using Pantone 2865c – the colour used by Cadbury. This victory was challenged by Nestle, however, who won the case on the grounds that the trademark “required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration.”
The issue courts had with the trademark was the wording used – Cadbury had protected the colour if it was used on chocolate packaging as the “predominant” colour. Legal experts believe that courts don’t want to give companies a “monopoly on the colour purple.”
Now that Cadbury no longer holds the trademark, it will be more difficult for them to stop rival chocolatiers from using it on their packaging.
Using unregistered trademark rights that are in place to prevent confusion between brands, Cadbury’s could still have grounds to protect Pantone 2865c. Although, these are much harder to enforce than regular trademarks.
Mondelez, the US company that owns Cadbury, has stated that they “have not appealed but will continue to protect what we believe is a distinctive trademark.”