Corporate takeover: Cadbury now owns the colour purple

The chocolate giant has won a high-court showdown with Nestlé for the rights to Pantone 2685C.
Do you think it’s the right decision?

Cadbury Purple

Who owns the colour purple? Yesterday Cadbury’s Dairy Milk won a high-court ruling that they possessed the rights to a shade of it.

After four years of battling NestlĂ© and its rival Wonka products, Cadbury has been allowed to trademark Pantone 2685C – the creamy purple you associate with Dairy Milk and your glass and a half full. The court ruled that the colour has been distinctively Cadbury’s since 1914, rejecting NestlĂ©’s claim that you can’t trademark a colour. Cadbury is now referring to it as “our famous colour purple”.

But did the lawyers get it right? Last month, shoe designer Christian Louboutin won a similar battle against Yves Saint Laurent, earning trademark protection for his red-soled heels. Other brands have longstanding colour associations: think Tiffany blue and Coca-Cola red. Should you be able to trademark a colour?


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