Cadbury expresses disappointment at loss in chocolate trademark case

Cadbury has expressed ‘disappointment’ at a Court of Appeal ruling in the UK which found against the company in its bid to alter an existing purple colour trade mark.

The confectionery business had sought to alter an original registered claim relating to its popular bars that stated its hue of purple “applied to the whole visible surface, or being the predominant colour applied to the whole visible surface, of the packaging.”

According to reports of the case, the company had looked to drop the latter part of the wording, which would give it further trademarks over bars that were not entirely made with purple designs.

The company said that a hundred years worth of a close association with the colour meant it would fight hard to protect its designs over competing manufacturers. The company has reportedly  faced previous objects from other businesses including Nestle over its existing trademark, which effectively prevents the usage of specific purple tones to other major confectionery firms.

Lord Justice Floyd, who presided over the Cadbury case, was not convinced that the company had demonstrated the need for the alteration to its existing trademark.

He said: “If allowed to be the predominant colour rather than restricted to the whole surface, the registration could cover uses of purple in extravagantly different ways. The mark could appear as stripes, spots, a large central blob, or in any other form.”

The ruling comes at a particularly sensitive time, as major manufacturers gear up for the peak Christmas season, which has traditionally been the most financially profitable for confectionery businesses. It follows in the wake of other notable disputes including that of Toblerone – which forced a rival brand produced by retailer Poundland to cease production of a rival product it named “Twin Peaks” which had been produced in near-identical packaging.

In response to the case this week, a spokesperson for Cadbury’s parent company, Mondelēz International, insisted that the brand would do all it could to protect its products. A statement from the company read: “We are disappointed with this decision. Our iconic colour purple has been used for Cadbury chocolate products for more than a century and is synonymous with the brand.

“We will continue to protect what we believe is a distinctive trademark and challenge those who attempt to pass off their products as Cadbury chocolate by using this colour.”

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