Bottle battle

Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been competitors. For years.

Nothing new there.

They have battled each other in court and out of court, in comparative ads. We have posted about this earlier here and here.

But now the cola competition has reached a new level. This time the (legal) battle is set in the Australian Federal Court, with Coca Cola claiming Pepsi has copied its iconic, curvy bottle. According to The Coca-Cola Company Pepsi’s new glass bottle is “substantially identical with or deceptively similar to” Coke’s famous contour bottle.

The Coke bottle is a classic, text book example of a shape that is registered as a trademark. Every IP practitioner has learned this in his/hers university years.

In the Australian case, Coca-Cola is to prove that Pepsi has been using the disputed bottle shape to identify the product as Pepsi and that the shape is similar enough to Coke’s contour bottle to confuse consumers.

MarkMatters.com thinks that that Coca Cola may be overreacting, as the bottles are not really that similar. But hey, in the US the cola market is a $950 million annual market of which Coca-Cola now has about 70 per cent. As every percent adds up to $9.5 million, we guess it is okay to (over)react. Right?

Erwin Hauër

“Hope is not a strategy.”

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