Kraft food’s chocolate brand Milka has an easily recognizable purple wrapping adorned with an image of a cow against a backdrop of the Swiss Alps in an elliptical frame.
Elite, Israel’s leading chocolate manufacturer, has a flagship “Para” (i.e. cow in Hebrew) brand of chocolate, which also features a cow on the wrapping.
Elite challenged the Milka cow mark, claiming that it was confusing customers. In a refreshingly cynically but well written ruling, the Israel Patent Office has decided that the trademark pastures are sufficiently fertile to support both cows.
Elite claimed that the Milka cow was similar enough to their locally well known cow mark, that it could cause confusion regarding the origin, and was thus invalid for registration.
Kraft (Milka) have pointed out that their mark is registered in some 50 countries and is a well known mark, being the best known chocolate bar in Europe. They consider the two cows inter-distinguishable and point out that the colours used in the wrapping are very different – Milka is wrapped in a distinctive purple background, whereas Elite’s Para (cow) brand uses red, brown or beige, for milk, bittersweet and white chocolate, respectively. Kraft (Milka) consider that there is nothing distinguishing about using cows in advertising and marketing of milk goods in general, and milk chocolate in particular. They also pointed out that their chocolate has been marketed in Israel since the Nineties.
Although the two cows have Hereford like dark patches on their bodies, they are somewhat different in appearance, with the Swiss fed cow being somewhat heavier set than its Mediterranean cousin. the Milka cow faces left, whereas the original, registered Elite cow trademark faced to the right, although the cow shown in recent packaging has been redrawn to the left. Milka’s cow also has a cowbell.
I did a quick identity parade in the local supermarket with Matan, my bright (but to date, illiterate) three year old, and with Binyamin, his 6 year old chocaholic brother. Neither of them had any problem recognizing which type I usually buy. Neither had any problem working out what was being sold in the other packaging. Having said that, Matan, the three year old has always expressed a strong preference for Bamba peanut snacks in blue foil bags over the same food in the alternative orange plastic packaging. I am told, that other infants express equally strong feelings for the orange version. Needless to say, under double-blind testing conditions, none of his friends was able to differentiate between Bamba in the two packages.