When the color purple comes up in conversation, many automatically think of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel that told the story of 1930s African American women in rural Georgia or the excellent film version that showcased just how underrated as actresses Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg could be. Others think of Donny Osmond’s socks. Parents of preschoolers may associate it with that unwieldy dinosaur Barney.
But to a group of folks in Birmingham, England (and another in Northfield, Illinois), purple is the color of money. And they’ll do everything they have to to hang onto their own particular shade of the color. For years, Cadbury, the candy maker based in Birmingham and owned by Kraft Mondelez, has been doing battle with Nestle over a particular shade of purple that it received trademark rights to back in 2008.
The fight seemed to reach an endpoint late last year when the registrar at the UK Intellectual Property Office decided that Cadbury was within its rights to ask for Pantone 2865c to be exclusively theirs for chocolate products and drinks. After all, Cadbury had been using that particular shade since 1914 in honor of Queen Victoria.
But Nestle wouldn’t go down without a further fight. It appears that the Battle for Pantone 2865c has finally been laid to rest. The UK’s Design Week reports that “Cadbury has won a High Court battle for exclusive use of its signature Pantone 2685C purple, as used in Dairy Milk packaging.”
“We welcome the decision of the High Court which allows us to register as a Trade Mark and protect our famous Colour Purple across a range of milk chocolate products,” a Cadbury spokesman said in a statement. “Our Colour Purple has been linked with Cadbury for more than a century and the British public have grown up understanding its link with our chocolate.”
Nestle saw Kraft’s legal win as a partial victory for itself, Bloomberg notes, because the ruling “protects our brands by further limiting the range of goods for which Cadbury’s application may be registered,” a Nestle spokesman said.
So perhaps you should start looking for non-chocolate products from Nestle that happen to be wrapped up in a particular shade of purple. Cadbury, meanwhile, is onto its next big idea: launching Crispello, a 165-calorie chocolate bar just for women, on Oct. 8 in a bid to fight a sales slump and rival Mars, which launched lighter Galaxy Flutes earlier this year.