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Cadbury surrender purple trade mark


It appears that Cadbury has ended its ongoing legal battle to preserve its registered trade mark for its classic shade of purple (Pantone 2865c).

Cadbury, who have held the purple registered trade mark since 1995, recently attempted to amend the scope of its coverage, after Nestlé successfully challenged the trade mark specification for being too wide ranging and/or insufficiently clear. The Court of Appeal last month ruled against Cadbury’s attempt to limit its coverage, leaving the trade mark unenforceable.

Mondelez International Inc., owner of the Cadbury brand, have confirmed they have not appealed the decision but will continue to protect what they believe is a distinctive trade mark. The decision is significant as it means Cadbury will have to rely on unregistered trade mark rights, such as passing off, to stop rivals from using the same or a similar shade of purple. Furthermore, the ruling could leave Cadbury vulnerable to rivals introducing imitation packaging in an attempt to benefit from Cadbury’s long-standing reputation in the market.

The case demonstrates the importance of clear and precisely drafted trade mark specifications to trade mark holders which, if drafted correctly, can minimise the chances of rights’ holders experiencing similar issues to Cadbury.

Clarion has a dedicated Intellectual Property Team whose practice includes all matters regarding trade marks including registrations, clearance searches, oppositions, infringement actions, licences and assignments. If you have any queries about this article or any questions about trade marks generally, please take a look at the Intellectual Property Team page for more details or to get in touch with the Team directly.


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