Story: Intellectual property law

The battle of the bottles

In 1938 Coca-Cola applied for and received a New Zealand trademark for the shape of the bottles it used. The certificate of registration and the design are shown here. As part of the company’s international push to prevent the competition using a similar bottle, the registration was used in 2010, when Coca-Cola took Pepsi to court over that company’s new ‘carolina’ bottle. Like Coca-Cola’s bottle, the carolina had a ‘waist’ and three dimensional ridging, it was the same size and it bore a logo. Coca-Cola lost the case. There was no evidence of consumer confusion between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and the waist (the major similarity between the bottles) was declared a common feature with a functional element to it, as it provided an easy handhold.

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Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: ABPJ 7554 W4989 14039

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How to cite this page:

Susy Frankel, 'Intellectual property law - New Zealand intellectual property legislation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/zoomify/45794/the-battle-of-the-bottles (accessed 30 September 2020)

Story by Susy Frankel, published 22 Oct 2014