Cadbury, the British-based chocolate company, won a color battle against rival Nestlé, which claimed Cadbury should never have been allowed to trademark its purple color back in 2008. Cadbury, which has been wrapping its chocolate in purple packaging for over 100 years to honor Queen Victoria, trademarked a distinct shad of purple using the pantone system of color. The UK Intellectual Property Office held that the particular shade of purple had a sufficiently “distinctive character” to warrant the trademark.
Overturning the trademark would invite countless rivals, including supermarkets, to use the color in their own chocolate bars, thereby creating consumer confusion and diluting the Cadbury brand. Cadbury’s power to use purple is not without boundaries, however, as the trademark is only limited to chocolate bars and drinks.
Is it fair to trademark a color when it is so closely associated to a particular brand? Does this promote color depletion, which limits the colors available to competitive brands? Does this encourage fair market competition or discourage it?
For more information, go to Time.