September 2015 – Those wishing to stay at the cutting edge of fashion wear blue. Not only make-up itself ends up on shelves in bright, glittering or strong blue shades. Its packaging is also adjusted to this current trend. Plastic specialist “Meding”, for example, has extended its portfolio to include cream jars with compatible spatulas for easy handling. These are produced on demand in different colours – and blue is ranking high on the agenda. The jars are offered in sizes from big to small. Depending on demand, consumers can chose from volumes between three and 350 millilitres. All blue is also the slogan for Italian tube producer “Scandolara” who drew on this colour of the sea for inspiration when selecting the colour for pump tubes with lip and eye applicators.
Consumers in other countries also focus on blue – but especially on mini-sized care products. While in the United Kingdom volumes between 15 and 30 millilitres are particularly popular for cosmetics, Indian consumers already consider 10 millilitres the upper limit. And such compact cosmetics articles are also in high demand in France. Experts feel the reasons for this growing popularity include both portability and the low costs associated with the smaller items – which allows shoppers to try out a greater variety of products. Sales of women’s and men’s fragrances in bottles of 21 – 44 ml rose by some 9% against the previous year in the first quarter of this year.
Blue is also the bone of contention between pharmaceutical groups Beiersdorf and Unilever. In the litigation between the 'Nivea' and 'Dove' brands on a particular shade of blue the firms have now even turned to the German Constitutional Court. This court case dealing with the product design of the internationally renowned enterprises has already been pending since 2007. Although Beiersdorf had obtained a patent for the shade of blue used for its Nivea series of products, Unilever opted for exactly the same blue shade for its Dove packaging design. Roughly two years ago the colour trademark was even deleted by the Federal Patent Office.
A similar case is currently pending before the European Court of Justice, which is why there is no precedence case yet for the judges to refer to. There seems to be unanimity about the importance of the consumers’ view: if, on the grounds of colour alone, packaging is associated with a specific brand, the brand owner may insist on his exclusive right of use. This is not the case though if the logo also serves for recognition purposes. The decision whether the two brands will in future share the same shade of blue now lies in the hands of the Karlsruhe judges.