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IP Australia rejects BP’s green colour mark application

The Australian trade mark registrar has rejected BP’s application for a green colour mark


BP's logo

In a June decision, the examiner from IP Australia once again denied BP’s application for a green colour mark, siding with an objection filed by retail chain Woolworths. BP’s application (no 909518) covered classes 4 (fuels provided through service stations), 37 (vehicle service stations and services) and 43 (take-away food services). The IP Office found that there was not sufficient evidence that the colour served as a means to distinguish BP’s goods.

BP’s original application was filed in April 2002, and has been subject to several challenges from Woolworths, from the registrar’s office all the way to theFull Federal Court. While the original application referred to “the colour green shown in the representation on the application form”, BP amended the claim in 2012 to define a specific shade, Pantone 348C. However, this amendment failed to convince the examiner, who noted that stating the specific shade would not have any effect on the issue of whether the colour mark was distinctive. This is in line with an examination report from early 2013, in which the examiner noted that referencing the Pantone colour does not change the mark in any way nor does it help to establish that the mark would help distinguish the source of BP’s goods.

The same examiner report also noted single colour marks are “usually considered to be devoid of inherent adaptation to distinguish” and that the evidence required to sustain a single colour mark application generally has to be “extremely persuasive”.

BP is represented by Davies Collison Cave and has until July 17 to appeal.

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