Cadbury was unable to win the legal battle for the purple wrapper they use for their chocolate bars. The company argued that the colour of their packaging is what mainly distinguishes them from their competition, so they should be allowed to trademark the colour. Unfortunately, Cadbury will have to find another aspect of their packaging to own, as it’s kind of impossible to own a colour.
Packaging is important to any product’s success. An iconic wrapper or box makes consumers remember a product and help them remember it for the next purchase. A logo, colour scheme, or an image could be easily trademarked, but Cadbury was fighting for the ownership of an entire colour. If they won the legal battle, then anything that shade of purple would be legally considered a Cadbury trademark.
Cadbury first started the case in 2012 when they won a battle preventing other companies from using Pantone 2865c. Nestlé challenged the decision, and they won the appeal the year later. The court ruled that the trademark application was too wide and vague. Finally, the company has given up on trying to win the battle. Lawyers of the company have dropped the case because they have decided it is unenforceable.
The main issue with the court case was that Cadbury wanted to protect the “predominant” colour of their packaging. Courts don’t want anyone to own a single colour, so they ruled against Cadbury. Due to this decision, it will be harder for the company to prevent competitors from using the shade of purple in their packaging. The iconic deep purple packaging could potentially be used by other candy companies, and Cadbury would have to rebrand or re-evaluate their marketing strategies.
Instead of focusing on packaging, Cadbury could trademark other things about their candy bars to protect its unique identity. Other than the recipe, Cadbury can trademark logos and slogans for their products. The Pantone 2865c wrapper is an essential part to their branding, but it’s not the only one. The success of the candy bar doesn’t rest on the colour of its wrapper, but on the contents inside.