Coca-Cola fails in Australian lawsuit against Pepsi
Following a four-year legal battle, Coca-Cola originally pressed charges against Pepsi following Pepsi’s release of the ‘Carolina bottle’ which they believe holds similar shape to Coca-Cola’s own, iconic ‘Contour bottle’, which has been distributed in Australia since 1938, by comparison Pepsi’s ‘Carolina bottle’ has only been distributed from as recently as 2007.
Coca-Cola claimed the ‘Carolina bottle’ infringed four of Coca-Cola’s own registered trademarks for the ‘Contour bottle’ – Coca-Cola argued that trademark infringement occurred due to the fact that Pepsi had used the whole bottle shape of the ‘Carolina bottle’ as its own trademark.
The claims of trademark infringement, misleading or deceptive conduct by Coca-Cola against – PepsiCo inc., PepsiCo Australia Holdings Pty Ltd, and Schweppes Australia Pty.
However despite strong claims and allegations, the Federal Court of Australia rejected Coca-Cola’s claims against Pepsi on November 28 2014 – Justice Besanko in judgement, held that the outline/silhouette of the ‘Carolina bottle’ was not sufficient to indicate to the consumer a connection in the course of trade between the beverage and Pepsi.
Following the rejection Coca-Cola expressed its disappointment with the outcome by giving a statement “The judgement is extremely disappointing. For more than a century, the Coca-Cola Company has carefully developed and protected our intellectual property including our trademarks, patents and copyrights” Coca-Cola were ordered by the Judge to pay PepsiCo’s legal fees.
The rejection follows both a similar rejection in New Zealand against Pepsi and a steady decline in soft-drink consumption – particularly amongst young adults, for Coca-Cola. Over the last 8 economic quarters (2 years) Coca-Cola’s profits had fallen more than 20%.