Understanding trademark infringement and how to safeguard your business

2nd August 2023
Birmingham employment solicitor on the right to disconnect

The colour purple…

Many businesses protect their business identity by registering a trademark.

Many of the most famous brands in the world from Coca-Cola to McDonald’s have all tried to protect the goodwill in their logos and names by obtaining a trademark.

However, trademark registration is relatively inexpensive and can be obtained by all businesses provided the mark they are seeking to register is deemed to be sufficiently distinctive.

It is possible to register trademarks in words, sounds logos and colours or any combination of the above.

A recent case shows the matters the court will consider if determining whether the trademark can be registered in which a major brand was able to secure trademark registration of a colour.

Nestle SA v Cadbury UK Ltd 2022

The case between Nestle and Cadbury provides a practical example of how trademark infringement disputes can unfold.

In this case, Cadbury applied to register a specific shade of purple (Pantone 2685C) as a trademark for chocolate. Nestle opposed the registration, arguing that the marks did not meet the requirements of a sign, a key element in the definition of a trademark.

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) initially rejected two of Cadbury’s three applications, deeming them ambiguous.

This means Cadbury’s could obtain a trademark in the colour purple relating to its overall marketing and branding but was unable to do so in relation to its packaging.

Trademark infringement causes significant implications for businesses.

The Nestle vs Cadbury case serves as a reminder of the intricacies of this area of law, particularly when it comes to marks such as colours.

This case should not discourage businesses from applying for trademarks but they should seek advice before they do so.

Considering the complexities of trademark infringement as illustrated in the Nestle vs Cadbury case, safeguard your business’s intellectual property with Ansons Solicitors, experts in resolving such disputes.

Reach out to us today for tailored advice and protection strategies.