Unilever and Nivea clash over the colour blue

Unilever and Nivea clash over the colour blue

In Germany, food group Unilever and Nivea owner Beiersdorf are entwined in a clash over who is allowed the typical Nivea blue. Beiersdorf states that that particular type of blue is inextricably linked to Nivea.

Brand-specific colour

The colour was listed as a brand-specific colour in 2007, but a Karlsruhe court overturned that decision two years later. It was at that time that Unilever started its feud with Beiersdorf through its own brand, Dove, which happens to be one of Nivea's biggest competitors.


Beiersdorf has now once again brought the case to a Karlsruhe court because it feels the colour is inextricably linked to Nivea and might cause confusion if competitors were allowed to use the same colour. Its own study shows that nearly 60 % of consumers link the colour to Nivea.


The court had previously stated that if half of consumers link a product to a colour, that colour could be registered as brand-specific. Beiersdorf's study seems to give it the upper hand in this discussion, but it will probably have to wait a while for the court to give its final verdict as the judges apparently want to present the case to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

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