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Cadbury sees red in row over purple

12 October 2012

CADBURY insisted this week that it had not forced another chocolate firm to change the colour of its Christmas packaging.

On Tuesday, the Meaningful Chocolate Company, which produces the Real Easter Egg, said that it had wanted Advent purple for its chocolate Christmas tree decorations, but had been advised that Cadbury owned the rights to the colour.

It switched its packaging to red; but the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, complained on behalf of Meaningful: "Cadbury should reflect that, before they even existed, the colour purple was around, and, perish the thought, after they have gone, it will still be here. You may own the rights to purple, but you can't own the colour."

Cadbury dismissed the claim as publicity-seeking, saying that, although it legally owned the right to a specific shade of purple, Pantone 2685c (see cartoon below), there was nothing to stop anyone's using a different hue.

A spokesman said: "Until journalists contacted us, we had not heard of the Meaningful Chocolate Company. We don't own Advent Purple."

Last year Cadbury successfully fought off a legal challenge by Nestlé, who sought a ruling that the colour was not exclusive to Cadbury; the verdict was recently upheld on appeal.

The Revd David Marshall, from the Meaningful Chocolate Company, said: "Our legal advisers warned us that, as a result of the Nestlé case, we should avoid all shades between dark blue and dark red. We have now written to Cadbury asking them to confirm that the court ruling relates only to the one shade, and they would not bring any claims of intellectual property-right infringement against anyone using a different shade of purple. We would love to have our purple back."

The C of E has its own preferred shades of purple: Pantone 2577 for visual identity and the logo (see cartoon), and Pantone 2742 for the namestyle.

"While the C of E prefers those specific colours, it does not have a legally protected right to their exclusive use," a spokesman said on Wednesday.


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