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Nestle appeal overturns Cadbury purple trademark ruling

Nestle appeal overturns Cadbury purple trademark ruling

Food manufacturing giant Nestle has won a court battle with Cadbury, over the latter's attempts to trademark the purple wrappers of its Dairy Milk bars.

Cadbury had first applied to register the signature trademark for a number of its products back in 2004, a move that was strongly opposed by Nestle but was still registered by the Intellectual Property Office under Pantone 2685C.  

The trademark referred to the colour purple as shown on the form of application, applied to the whole visible surface of the packaging of the products.

It was a decision that was upheld by the High Court, but has now been reversed after it was challenged in the Court of Appeal, which came to the decision that the wording of the trademark was not concise and lacked the necessary level of clarity.

The court claimed: "Cadbury's formulation does not comply with the requirements for [trademark] registration."

It added that it lacked "the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration".

Cadbury, which has been using a purple wrapper for its chocolate bars since the early part of the 20th century, admitted it was not happy with the decision.

A spokesman said: "We are disappointed by this latest decision but it's important to point out that it does not affect our long held right to protect our distinctive colour purple from others seeking to pass off their products as Cadbury chocolate.

"Our colour purple has been linked with Cadbury for a century and the British public has grown up understanding its link with our chocolate.

"We are studying this particular ruling and will consider our next steps which includes the possibility of an appeal."

Despite the ruling at the UK Court of Appeal, lawyers have stressed that any company marketing products using the same shade of purple as Cadbury in their packaging could still be liable to face legal action.

Nestle said it welcomed the court decision, claiming it "was the right outcome from a legal perspective".


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