Beiersdorf AG is feeling blue — and that’s a good thing for the Hamburg-based consumer goods giant.
On Thursday, Germany’s Federal Supreme Court reversed a decision the Federal Patent Court made in 2013 denying Nivea Blue the status of a registered color trademark. A new hearing has been ordered in the case, which will resume in the Munich-based patent court at a later date.
In response to a suit brought by Unilever, which uses blue on its soap and care packaging for Dove products, the patent court had ruled 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 of respondents said they associated this color blue only with Nivea. Federal Supreme Court judges have set the deciding figure at 50 percent, a color coup for Beiersdorf.
Beiersdorf also uses dark blue for its corporate identity and logo, and has named its strategic business program the Blue Agenda.
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“[Nivea Blue’s] wide use over a long period and across the brand portfolio has ensured that consumers around the world associate the characteristic blue with the absolute highest skin-care competence,” said board member Ralph Gusko in a statement. “For this reason, we will spare no efforts in protecting the iconic color image as well as all other brand and design rights.”
For the first quarter of 2015, Beiersdorf net profits increased 9 percent to 181 million euros, or $199.3 million; sales of Nivea rose by 1.7 percent in the quarter. The firm releases second-quarter figures on Aug. 5.