Trademark News & Screw-ups Cadbury just lost a trademark battle over a shade of purple, and its distinctive colour is now vulnerable

Cadbury confused trademark registration with trademark enforcement. In the search to make it easier for their litigation team to nail down cases of infringement of their existing color trademark, they tried to trademark what possible infringements could be. In a way, it's like trying to trademark misspelled versions of your own brand. You just don't do it. What you do is you enforce your actual trademark against those who try to get away with misspellings. They thought, "Oh, often our competitors are using our color on a part of their chocolate packaging, rather than the whole, and it makes it difficult for our litigators to shut them down. Essentially, we need to prove it is an infringement for others to use our color as a predominant color in their packaging. Problem is, they are saying, there are other colors in their packaging and that our trademark only covers situations where our color is applied to the whole surface. What do we do? Oh, I have an idea! Let's register another trademark for something as vague as a predominant color applied to the visible surface of the packaging?" So that didn't work out. But it doesn't mean Cadbury can't enforce their existing trademark anymore. It's just going to be more difficult.

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