Faith-based tree chocolates can't use Cadbury purple

The Bishop of Chelmsford has come to the defence of the Meaningful Chocolate Company after they were advised that their purple packaging clashed with Cadbury's.

The Meaningful Chocolate Company has been forced to redesign its faith-based Christmas tree chocolates after being advised that ‘Advent purple belongs to Cadbury’.

"Cadbury should reflect that before they even existed, the colour purple was around and – perish the thought – after they have gone, it will still be here," said Bishop Stephen Cotterell.

"You may own the rights to purple, but you can’t own the colour. Fighting some battles, even ones you win, can actually be demeaning. Far better to be generous, then no one loses.

“Funny though it is, I am reliably told that companies can, under some circumstances, own the rights to a colour and even the Church of England has a preferred shade of its own. But isn’t this a case where common sense might prevail? The Meaningful Chocolate Company is not a threat to Cadbury."

Purple is the colour worn by clergy during Advent in preparation for Christmas, as well as Lent. Bishops also wear purple shirts.

Bishop Cotterell continued: "The background hue of their packaging may resemble a bar of their much-loved Dairy Milk brand, but everything else about the product makes it clear that this is something distinctively different."

The tree chocolates have been designed to help parents and grown-ups share the meaning of Christmas with children.

They were first produced last year and packaged in an advent purple box with a picture of Mary and Jesus on the front.

The box contained a copy of the Christmas story and a Nativity character sticker set.

The packing is being changed to red after the company was advised by its legal team that Cadbury had secured the rights to the colour purple in the UK.

David Marshall, from the Meaningful Chocolate Company, said: "We believe there is little chance of confusion.

"Our box of Meaningful Christmas Tree Decorations are very different from Cadbury’s own decorations in a number of ways. Our chocolate is fair trade, Cadbury’s is not.

"A charitable donation is made from every sale, Cadbury do not do this. We have Jesus, Mary and characters on the front of our box and a copy of the Christmas story inside, Cadbury have a mostly white box with a snowman on the front and secular tree decorations in a plastic cover.”

He added: "We believe there is a place for faith in the Christmas and Easter chocolate market using a range of colours. To demand the rights to a colour, or anything near it on the spectrum, seems at odds with the spirit of the season.”

Last Easter, the Meaningful Chocolate Company made headlines when it launched the Real Easter Egg, the UK’s first and only Fairtrade charity Easter egg to mention Jesus on the box.

The Meaningful Christmas Tree Decorations cost £4.20 or £4 if more than 20 boxes are ordered at a time. Church orders can be made through or exclusively from Traidcraft. Orders should be made by the end of November 2012 as supplies are limited.