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Nestlé overturns Cadbury packaging ruling

07 October 2013

A UK Court of Appeal ruling in a trademark case against the Mondelez Cadbury unit over purple packaging for milk chocolate has been overturned.

Nestlé, the world’s biggest food company, overturned an October 2012 decision that ruled that Cadbury could stop other chocolate firms using the colour - known as Pantone 2865c – which was originally ruled as distinctive to the maker of Dairy Milk bars.

The ruling allows Nestl
é, and any other confectioners, to sell chocolate products with the same coloured wrapping.

"Cadbury's formulation does not comply with the requirements for [trademark] registration," said the UK court.

Cadbury, the UK’s biggest chocolate maker, used a pale mauve colour as early as 1905 and its packaging has featured purple and gold dating back to 1920. 

The dispute dates back to 2008, when Switzerland based Nestlé opposed Cadbury’s initial application for a colour trademark. The trademark applied for ‘lacks the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration’ Judge John Mummery said in the ruling handed down today.

In a statement, Cadbury said it is studying the ruling and will consider whether to appeal: “Our colour purple has been linked with Cadbury for a century and the British public has grown up understanding its link with our chocolate.”

Mondelez, which also makes Oreo cookies, was created in a split of Kraft Foods Group last year. The company had a 20.5% share of the western European chocolate confectionery market in 2012, according to Bloomberg Industries data.

“We believe this was the right outcome from a legal perspective,” James Maxton, a spokesman for Nestlé, said.

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