BP Loses Australian Bid to Trademark Green

BP advertisement from 2004The High Court of Australia has dismissed a bid by BP to have the green Pantone colour 348C used in its logo registered as its trademark. BP's barrister, David Shavin, requested leave to appeal the lower court's decision that the company can't trademark the colour. However, Justice William Gummow was skeptical: "It might be inherently adapted to mislead, might it not? ... What is nature [sic] and healthy about the production or consumption of petroleum products?" BP's Shavin asserted, "To the consumer in the context of oil, your Honour, green indicates BP, not environmental friendliness." Justice Michael Kirby commented that "it was a clever colour to have chosen so many years ago because it is now very much associated with the environmental movement." A majority of the three judges rejected BP's application and awarded costs against the company. Despite the setback, BP has registered the colour green in over 20 countries.