I’ve written previously about the importance of colour as a brand asset (click here) and specifically about Cadbury’s battle to trademark Pantone 2865c (the Cadbury purple). In the latest court clash, Cadbury’s have given up a trademark after losing an appeal.
The result is that it will be harder for Cadbury’s to stop rivals from using similar colours. The court said that the trademark application lacked, “the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration”.
It seems that if you want to trademark an asset you have to very specific. Cadbury were seeking to protect the colour “applied to the whole visible surface, or being the predominant colour” of product packaging. It seems that courts and trademark offices want to avoid going a monopoly on a particular colour.
The lesson seems to be that if you want to trademark a colour you have to very precise in the way you use it and in how you describe its use in the application. That doesn’t mean that you should avoid using colour as a brand asset. If you see Pantone 2865c in the store, what do you think of?