A European Union court turned down Coca Cola’s application to trademark its bottle as the court find it lacks any distinctive character. The shape of Coca-Cola bottle does not qualify for trademark protection, the court said affirming a decision by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) to reject Coca-Cola’s 3D Community trademark (CTM) application.
Coca Cola filed the application for 3D Community trademark in 2011. The application was for metallic, glass and plastic bottles that was wide in the middle and bottom but that narrows at the top. This was different from the Coca-Cola’s signature bottle which has narrow groves design down the side. Coca-Cola claimed the new shape, stated in its application as a “contour bottle without fluting” The company asked it to be considered as a “natural evolution of its famous iconic bottle.” But the application was rejected as the applied-for CTM was a plain bottle. Coca Cola still stood by its statement that the new bottle is distinctive and called it “contour bottle with fluting”.
In 2013, OHIM rejected the application prompting Coca-Cola to appeal against the decision to the office’s Second Board of Appeal. In 2014 the appeals board upheld the initial rejection. Coca-Cola appealed against the judgment, arguing that the applied-for mark had acquired distinction through use. But the court held firm in upholding OHIM’s rejection after concluding it had failed to show the shape functioned as a source identifier.