November 9, 2012
Who Owns the Color Purple of Advent? Not Cadbury, Bishop Says
Legal battles over purple wrappers among chocolatiers prompt remarks.
Cadbury recently won a legal battle to prevent chocolate competitor Nestle from using a trademarked shade of purple on its candy wrappers. Now, though, the U.S.-based confectionery giant is under fire from an unexpected source: the Church of England.
Bishop Stephen Cotterell warned Cadbury that it should stop being "so precious over purple" after Meaningful Chocolate Company, a small Christian fair trade producer, redesigned its special Advent wrappers under legal counsel. The specific advice? "Advent purple belongs to Cadbury."
Purple is a color traditionally associated with both Lent and Advent. During Advent, clergy and bishops wear purple—but they may not be handing out purple-wrapped chocolate bars with Advent messages any time soon.
Meaningful Chocolate Company spokesman David Marshall said Advent wrappers will be "a warm red" this year.
"The legal advice was very clear," Marshall said. "It was not just purple, it was anything that could be interpreted as Cadbury's purple, from deep blue to deep red."
Cadbury defended its right to trademark its distinctive shade of purple, stating that the purpose of the Nestle lawsuit was to prevent confusion and promote brand recognition.
"We are not seeking to be precious about the color purple, we are not seeking to copyright all shades of purple," said a spokesman for Cadbury. "We are merely seeking to protect the Cadbury purple that is associated with milk chocolate and not all other colors."