0370 270 6000

Court of Appeal reverses Cadbury purple trade mark decision

7 October 2013

The Court of Appeal has taken a u-turn on an earlier decision, granting Cadbury a trade mark registration for a shade of purple (Pantone 2685C) synonymous with its Dairy Milk chocolate bar.

In the present case, Sir John Mummery stated the mark “lacks the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration”. The Cadbury mark failed because, although it is established defining a colour by reference to its Pantone number is precise, the description accompanying the mark was not. The words “being the predominant colour applied to the whole visible surface, of the packaging of the goods” suggested the colour could be used in combination with other colours in a variety of ways.

This is quite a harsh outcome for Cadbury given its actual use of the mark and the clear evidence of distinctiveness which it previously adduced. The decision does, however, serve as a reminder as to the importance of accompanying descriptions, particularly in relation to non-conventional marks.

Please also see our commentary on the joined case of Mattel v Zynga.

Related opinions

Cameras in convenience stores: a potential hornet’s nest..?

A convenience retailer has opted to install cameras (the “Facewatch” system) at a limited number of its English stores to reduce crime and protect its staff.

View blog

Covid-19 rent arrears – the questions that remain

The Government appears set to announce plans on ‘living with Covid to restore freedom’. With the success of the retail and hospitality sector key to recovery, what protections will be on offer to tenants to deal with Covid-19 rent arrears?

View blog

Handing back an empty shell of a building did not prevent a tenant from exercising a break clause

Break rights have proved a fertile source of litigation over the last few years. More often than not, tenants have found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions. However, a Court of Appeal decision yesterday has bucked that trend.

View blog

Relief for landlords as the Court of Appeal confirms that leases have been validly contracted out

One of the requirements for tenants to contract out of the security of tenure regime contained in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 is that they make a simple or statutory declaration before entering into the lease.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up