Berlin — Blue is the hottest color — for beauty packaging.
The right to use dark blue on cosmetics bottles and boxes had Dove and Nivea seeing red in court on Thursday. At the German high court in Karlsruhe, Beiersdorf argued for the appeal of a patent court decision won by Unilever in 2013, allowing the British-Dutch firm to use the blue shade on its soap and care products. In that decision, the court stated that the color could only be restricted as a trademark if three out of four German consumers associated it solely with that brand or its product. A study by Beiersdorf found that only 57.9 percent in fact did so.
Although Nivea’s creme was originally packaged in a yellow tin when it launched in 1911, the moisturizer has been true blue since 1925. Dove, born in 1957, has long printed its brand name in navy. Hamburg-based Beiersdorf previously won the right to protect “Nivea Blue” as an identifying feature in 2007. At the end of 2012, the company revamped its Nivea logo and packaging to mimic the dark-blue round tin of its signature creme.
The court has not yet set any date for the verdict in Thursday’s case.
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This isn’t the first corporate color clash in Germany — dictionary maker Langenscheidt was victorious in a similar case last year to retain its yellow shade as exclusive, and Deutsche Telekom won rights to its trademark magenta more than a decade ago.