In 2011, the Coca-Cola Company (Coca-Cola) applied to the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) to register a Community trade mark (CTM) for the 3D design of its world famous plastic, glass and metal bottles. This request was rejected and Coca-Cola subsequently applied again in 2014 with a slight variation to the original contoured bottle with fluting but this was also rejected as it was deemed not distinguishing enough to warrant its own CTM.
Coca-Cola is one of the most instantly recognisable and iconic brands in the world and is considered as a “triumph of modern-day marketing”. Whilst that it is true that the shape and design of its standard bottles is easily associated with the brand, the EU court ruled that the design “does not possess any characteristics that distinguish it from other bottles available on the market.” The General Court of the EU also stated that Coca-Cola had failed to establish any proof that the design had acquired any “distinctive character” through its use.
This dismissal leaves Coca-Cola the sole option of lodging an appeal at the European Court of Justice, but as yet the company has not issued any statements expressing any plans to follow this or any other course of action.