IP protection for food and drinks packaging is a significant asset and prevents others from copying valuable designs. Coca-Cola has a registered EU trade mark for its distinctive bottle shape, and Red Bull has a Community Registered design for its can design. However, registering the shape of packaging as a trade mark is not straightforward: Voss' EU trade mark for the shape of its water bottle was cancelled on the grounds that it was not distinctive.
Whilst obtaining design protection for packaging is less complex, a General Court decision this year affirmed the importance of getting the representation of your design registration right. The Court upheld a decision that a Community registered design featuring three sizes of drinks can, registered by Ball Beverage Packaging, was invalid on the basis that it did not have individual character over earlier similar drinks can designs on the market. Applicants should consider carefully how to depict their designs when filing their application and may need to file multiple registrations, and different views.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.