EU throws out Coca-Cola request to protect bottle design trademark

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

EU throws out Coca-Cola bottle design trademark

Related tags Coca-cola company Trademark Coca-cola

The General Court of the European Union has dismissed a request by The Coca-Cola Company (Coca-Cola) to register a contour bottle without fluting as a Community trademark.

The company applied to the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM) to protect a new design​ of its metallic, glass and plastic bottles in December 2011.

'The mark sought is a mere variant'

OHIM rejected the application in March 2014, on the grounds the mark sought was devoid of any distinctive character in respect of the goods covered by the application. But, Coca-Cola filed an appeal against the decision.

In a ruling this week OHIM said in a statement: “the General Court confirms the bottle does not possess any characteristics that distinguish it from other bottles available on the market.

The mark sought is a mere variant of the shape of a bottle which does not enable the consumer to distinguish Coca-Cola’s goods from those of other undertakings​.

The General Court finds the sign at issue is devoid of the distinctive character required for registration under the Community trade mark regulation.

It also states Coca-Cola has failed to establish that the sign had acquired distinctive character through use. In those circumstances, the General Court dismisses in its entirety the action brought by Coca-Cola​.”

In its findings, OHIM did not accept Coca-Cola’s argument that the mark sought should be regarded as a natural evolution of its famous iconic bottle (that is, the contour bottle with fluting).

'Taste the Feeling' global campaign

BeverageDaily reported in January this year, The Coca-Cola Company was uniting all its Coke trademark brands​ in a global creative campaign, called ‘Taste the Feeling.’ 

The ‘one brand’ strategy follows Coca-Cola Great Britain’s rebrand in March last year,​which also sought to integrate the different varieties on offer with the traditional full calorie drink.

Coca-Cola said it wanted to reinforce the concept ‘Coca-Cola is for everybody.’​ Chief marketing officer, Marcos de Quinto, said the strategy will present Coca-Cola as one brand with different variants, which all share the same values and visual iconography.

He added bringing products like Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life to the forefront highlights the company’s commitment to choice for different tastes, lifestyles and diets: with or without calories and with or without caffeine.

Coca-Cola Life, for example, is a reduced calorie beverage which uses cane sugar and Stevia leaf extract. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Zero is a no sugar, no calorie version.

As part of the new strategy, the ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign will be rolled out worldwide this year.

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