Josh Brooks of packagingnews.co.uk reports, here, that Coca-Cola has succeeded before the Paris Court of Appeal in banning the production and sale of Yoplait’s Dizzy brand “milk-based fizzy drink.” Coca-Cola’s winning Blak bottle is shown below side-by-side with the losing Yoplait Dizzy bottle:
It appears from the news report that the French success was based purely on the distinctive shape of Coca-Cola’s Blak bottle. Putting the bottle shapes aside, if one were considering the non-shape visual aspects of trade dress, one might be tempted to call the Coca-Cola Blak beverage, night, and the Yoplait Dizzy beverage, day, since that is about how much they otherwise share in common.
It will be interesting to see how this ruling impacts (if at all) Yoplait’s apparent intention to launch its Dizzy beverage in the U.S. marketplace. Yoplait’s word mark application for Dizzy was just issued a Notice of Allowance by the U.S. Trademark Office last month, so unless Yoplait requests an extension of time to submit evidence of use in the U.S., we might see the U.S. version of the Dizzy product by November 2009, if not sooner. Interestingly, Yoplait abandoned a bottle shape trademark application a couple of years ago, here, having a virtually identical identification of goods, and it was initially refused registration on functionality and non-distinctiveness grounds, but not on confusing similarity to Coca-Cola’s distinctive bottle shape trademark.
Hat tip to JoAnn Hines, The Packaging Diva, on the Josh Brooks article.
By the way, DuetsBlog readers should check out www.PackagingLaunch.com, a new and interesting site launched by JoAnn, “Where Packages Are Judged By the People Who Buy Them” and a slate of Guest Authors with various backgrounds and experience, including yours truly.