Why can’t my logo be purple? What are my IP rights?

Dear Aunty B,


I run a small confectionary company and my designer has just come up with a new logo that while it is a similar purple to Cadbury Purple, it is a completely different shape and look.


I love my new logo, but after reading your story a few weeks ago about Cadbury fighting to trademark the colour purple, I am unsure of my IP rights. Also I can’t help thinking that the world has gone nuts when a company can own a color. Am I going crazy?


Townsville Queensland




Dear Troubled,


You ask about your rights. Unfortunately you have none. Why? Well, you are small, voiceless and probably in debt to the tax department (Well, 600,000 small businesses are, you know.)


In Australia only big companies have IP rights – that is, they have the money to pursue a case, trademark a colour, appeal the decisions and then defend the colour against little pesky upstarts like you who childishly assumed Mother Nature created and therefore owned all the colours of the universe. What planet are you on??


You see, IP rights belong to big business in this country, and if they get their way, so will colours and everything else not nailed down. The Commonwealth Bank now has registered its yellow and black, and Kraft apparently has registered silver. You are not even safe with a boring pink – Pink Batts wants that.


Now I know you expect Aunty B to give you a solution, so how about this? Get a junior to run through all the colours of big company logos in the world and rule those colours out – one must assume that if this nonsense is going on in Australia, it will be universal. (See, for instance, today’s Briefing.)


That should leave you with… ummmm, a mission brown. Now you might yelp that mission brown and faeces are not that dissimilar in colour, and therefore entirely unsuitable for a confectionary product. But Troubled, remember WHO YOU ARE – small, with no voice and certainly, as yet, no colour.



What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments