Can a Color Be the Face of a Brand?

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The Federal Supreme Court of Germany has reversed a 2013 decision made by the Federal Patent Court, recognizing "the iconic color trademark NIVEA Blue stands for," according to the company. As a result, the case will revert to the Federal Patent Court.

Unilever had challenged the color trademark.

According to Nivea, "The case was about the deletion of the registered color trademark, NIVEA Blue ... [T]he Federal Patent Court ordered the removal of the color trademark from the German trademark register."

Nivea Blue was first introduced in 1925 and is considered by Nivea to be a trademark, not merely a decorative background tone.

The company notes, "[I]t is used on the legendary blue NIVEA Creme tins for example, [and] has stood for the brand values of NIVEA: Trust, Closeness and Care. It is the “face” of the brand and the foundation for the global design language of NIVEA products. Its 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."

The blue color was introduced by Beiersdorf's advertising head Juan Gregorio Clausen, a former sailor, in 1925 "in order to adapt the design of the NIVEA Creme tin to the modern zeitgeist."

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