Hopes Shatter for European Trademark Protection for New Coke Bottle Design

A European General Court recently denied the Coca-Cola Company European Community trademark protection for the shape of its new bottle design.   European Community trademark protection provides trademark rights to the owner throughout all European Union member states.

The bottle design was determined by the court to lack distinction.  In fairness, protection of a shape in the EU is difficult to prove.  The shape must be shown to be recognizable by consumers by shape alone.  Coke failed to meet its burden of proof in this situation.

Here, Coke revamped its bottle design and made it less distinctive than previous designs, which were protected by EU Community trademark registration.  In an effort to modernize their product packaging, Coke may have drifted away from its recognizable bottle shape.

What’s the take away here?  For any company, protecting the shape of a product through trademark registration is a challenge.  The shape must be sufficiently distinctive to enable consumers to recognize the product over the competition.  If your organization is going to go down that route, be sure to create a sufficiently distinctive product that is recognizable by your customers over the competition. 

Protecting your innovative developments is critical to any organization.  Having the right person to help you make that decision is important.  The Law Office of Kathleen Lynch PLLC is designed to help businesses such as yours keep ahead of the game.   The first telephone consultation is free.  Email us at klynch@kliplaw.com.