Can you own the colour Purple?

Cadbury says it will appeal a recent court decision to allow rival Darrell Lea to use the colour purple. The Federal Court dismissed an application by Cadbury Schweppes that the use of purple by Darrell Lea amounted to misleading and deceptive conduct. Justice Peter Heerey said he was not persuaded that Darrell Lea in using purple had passed off its business or products as those of Cadbury or had contravened the Trade Practices Act. Cadbury had claimed customers linked purple with their products and mistook Darrell Lea’s goods for Cadbury’s, and vice versa. But Darrell Lea said Cadbury’s knowledge was limited to inspection of goods on display and physical surroundings, and did not involve any observation of consumer behaviour. Cadbury Schweppes said it would appeal the decision. Read the full story in The Herald Sun, 0n 12 April, 2008. Consider the following questions:
  1. Do you think Cadbury were justified in bring this action in the Federal Court?
  2. If Cadbury had been successful with their case, what would the implications be for other similar cases?
  3. Why is the outcome of this case important for Australian small businesses?



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