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On 29 July 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held​ that Red Bull’s signature blue and silver colour trademarks were invalid. This followed an earlier decision by the General Court of the European Union in 2017 which found that the graphic representation and description of the two colours were not sufficiently precise.

The threshold for successfully registering a trademark consisting of a single colour or combination of colours has been set purposefully high, in order to avoid situations where a large company is able to effectively monopolise a particular colour within a particular class of goods or services. A company seeking to register a colour trademark must demonstrate that their mark has acquired distinctiveness, and be able to describe it in a sufficiently clear and precise manner.


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The EU has published a trade mark reform package for 2016, comprising a new Community Trade Mark (CTM) Regulation and Trade Mark Directive.

The Regulation, which sets out the rules and procedures governing CTMs, will come into effect on 23 March 2016. The updated Trade Mark Directive will introduce a number of similar provisions in respect of national trade mark systems, however, its provisions will not come into effect until January 2019.


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