Can you trademark a colour?
As it happens, Yes you can!
The Pantone colour 2685C has been protected as a trade mark by…. obviously, it’s Cadbury.
Cadbury has won a legal battle after Nestlé took it to court, challenging an earlier ruling which gave the former company exclusive use of Pantone 2685C – the particular type of purple used in Dairy Milk packaging. Despite Nestlé arguing that the colour should not be protected as a trade mark, the judge ruled that this particular shade had been linked to the chocolate bar for more than 90 years.
“For some time, a single colour has been recognised in law as capable of being a trade mark – but only for a particular colour and for specific products or services,” said intellectual property partner in DWF’s food group, Ed Meikle. “As well as Cadbury’s purple for chocolate, other well known examples include BP’s green for petrol stations, Orange’s orange for mobile phone services and UPS’ brown for parcel delivery services.
“So long as the single colour on its own can indicate the origin of the product or service, then it is likely to be recognised as a trade mark and, most importantly, enable the owner to stop others from using it.”
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