Cadbury chocolate bars will be the only candy allowed to use the distinctive purple shade on its wrappers. A London judge made the ruling on Tuesday, settling a fight candy giants Kraft and Nestle have been waging for several years.
The British Intellectual Property Office (IPO) gave Cadbury (owned by Kraft Foods Inc. since 2010) the trademark in 2008, but Nestle objected, filing suit to stop the trademark, stating it's "not unique to the applicant and should be free for everyone in that line of trade to use."
Last November, the IPO ruled that Pantone 2865c, the royal purple color at the center of this legal battle, was distinctive enough to merit the trademark, according to Marketing Week. Nestle promptly appealed the decision.
The English High Court's decision yesterday was a victory for Cadbury. “The evidence clearly supports a finding that purple is distinctive of Cadbury for milk chocolate,” Judge Colin Birss said in a written decision rejecting Nestle’s appeal.
The U.K.-based chocolate company has been using the color, chosen to honor Queen Victoria, to cover its dairy milk bars for close to 100 years, Time reported.
We welcome the decision of the high court which allows us to register as a [trademark] and protect our famous colour purple across a range of 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.
"Trademarks of names and logos are familiar to most businesses, but the high court's ruling in favour of Cadbury shows the increasing importance of colour trademarks," law firm executive Paul Medlicott said in an interview with the Guardian.
In a similar attempt to trademark a specific color, luxury shoe brand Christian Louboutin scored an important victory in September when the United States Court of Appeals held that Louboutin had a "valid and enforceable trademark" for its red outsoles, The New York Times reports.
High-end jeweler Tiffany & Co. filed an amicus brief in support of Louboutin, which is not surprising given the company's own color trademark regarding its distinctive blue packaging, according to a Marketing Week report.