Living without colour: Monzo trade mark dilemma
The pressure of making a brand stand out in today’s competitive industry is something that affects all brands. Whether a brand is can establish itself or not is connected to whether a brand can make a memorable mark in the minds of the consumer. As a result, a vast amount of companies and brands are looking to use colours to make their products stand out. In order to do this effectively, they are seeking exclusivity by registering a pantone colour with an intellectual property office.
The bank called Monzo is the latest company that has tried to register a colour (hot coral Pantone 805 C). Monzo registered this as a single-colour mark with the European Intellectual Property Office (‘EUIPO’). However, one only needs to look at the recent legal dispute between Cadbury and Nestle regarding the former’s purple colouring of its packaging, to know that there is a high threshold needed in registering this type of mark.
In the case of Monzo, the applied-for-mark of the Pantone 805 C colour was rejected by the European Board of Appeal because it lacked distinctiveness. In an industry where bank cards are distributed to the consumer in an array of colours, it is unlikely that the average consumer would associate the coral colour solely with the bank Monzo. Subsequently, case law has proven that in order for a colour mark to be registered, it requires distinctiveness and the colour concerned needs to be stated in a clear and precise manner.
As a result of the above, Monzo has chosen to withdraw the applied-for-mark from the UK Intellectual Property Office (‘UKIPO’).
By Fatima Amedu