Cadbury at war over the colour purple

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cadbury Cadbury plc Appeal Trademark Cadbury schweppes

Global confectionery giant Cadbury Schweppes are appealing against
a court ruling that they do not have exclusive rights over the
colour purple.

The company has filed an appeal against a judgment, handed down in April this year, that Australia confectioners, Darrell Lea Chocolate Shops, had not acted improperly in using a dark purple colour similar to the signature shade used on the packaging of Cadbury brands.

Cadbury claimed that the use of the colour had given consumers the false impression that they were buying Cadbury chocolate or products associated with Cadbury and contended that Darrell Lea had contravened the Trade Practices Act by attempting to pass off its goods as Cadbury products.

But the Federal Court of Australia decided that, since Cadbury was a recognisable brand on the strength of many factors, including the logo and the distinctive Cadbury typeface, they did not exclusively own the dark purple colour and could not prevent other manufacturers using it.

Justice Peter Heerey concluded: "Cadbury does not own the colour purple and does not have an exclusive reputation in purple in connection with chocolate.

"Darrell Lea is entitled to use purple, or any other colour, as long as it does not convey to the reasonable customer the idea that it or its products have some connection with Cadbury."

Since 1998, Cadbury has struggled to register purple as a trade mark in Australia in the face of opposition from Darrell Lea. In April this year, a Trade Marks hearing debated the contested application and concluded that the company had been using the colour as a trade mark since 1994 and could therefore register it as such on their boxed and block chocolate.

In addition to Cadbury's packaging, purple also features heavily in the company's advertising, factories, catalogues, delivery vehicles and on its website.

The confectioners have used purple packaging for their products from the 1920s to the present day, with the exception of the second world war years when the luxury paper needed was in short supply.

Cadbury has operated in Australia since the 1920s and are one of the dominant companies in the country's confectionery market. In 1998 there were around 86,000 Australian retailers selling Cadbury goods.

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