Unilever left feeling blue after Beiersdorf court case | RetailDetail

Unilever left feeling blue after Beiersdorf court case

Unilever left feeling blue after Beiersdorf court case

Can Unilever use the colour blue for its Dove product range, or can only Nivea do that, like its manufacturer Beiersdorf claims? The German consumer will get to decide, after a ruling of the Federal Court of Justice.

At stake: Pantone 280 C

Ever since 2013, Beiersdorf and Unilever have been bickering over the colour blue, specifically the Pantone 280 C shade. That type of blue has been associated with Nivea since 1925, but Unilever-based competitor Dove also wants to use that particular colour. Beiersdorf says it cannot as the colour is protected by a patent and that is when this colourful case landed in the federal patent court.


At first, this court decided Beiersdorf had to release the colour unless it could prove that at least 75 % of consumers unambiguously link the colour to Nivea. That would be almost impossible, meaning this shade of blue would become available for public use.


Beiersdorf decided to head to the Federal Court of Justice, Germany's highest court, which has now "transformed" the earlier ruling to 50 % of consumers: if half of consumers link this particular shade of blue to Nivea, Unilever can no longer use Pantone 280 C.


Press agency Bloomberg says it is quite obvious why Beiersdorf is so adamant to defend "its" blue: Nivea's turnover last year reached 5.2 billion euro, 83 % of the group's total turnover.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact the editors

Australian cult brand Aesop opens in Belgium


Aesop, an Australian beauty brand, is to open a first store in the Belgian fashion capital Antwerp. It would be the first own store for the chain in the Benelux. 

Henkel stays steady in difficult market conditions


Despite negative exchange rates and logistical issues in the United States, Henkel still sees positive signs in the first quarter. Its glue division outperformed the laundry and beauty divisions.

P&G wants 100 % recyclable packaging by 2030


Procter & Gamble has announced new sustainability targets for 2030, as it has already – for the largest part – reached its 2020 targets. One of its goals is to make sure that all packaging is recyclable or reusable.

Zalando launches beauty product sales


Zalando launched its beauty product range in Germany today, which it announced in October. Markets outside of Germany will follow later.

CK Hutchison owner steps down


Li Ka-shing, CK Hutchinson’s owner and CEO, will step aside mid-May. The 89-year old will then pass on the baton to his eldest son, Victor Li, who will then take control of chains like Kruidvat and ICI Paris XL.

Europe wants global ban on animal testing for cosmetics


Several Members of the European Parliament say the current European ban on animal testing for cosmetic purposes needs to be extended to a global one.