Coca-Cola has lost the latest round in a long-running battle with Pepsi over Coke-owned brand Ipsei, a range of fruit flavoured still drinks. The ruling is unlikely to spell the end of the battle.
Coke has been trying to register the Ipsei name in the UK since March 2003 but Pepsi has objected, on the grounds that “Ipsei” is too similar to “Pepsi”. The UK Trade Mark Registry delivered its ruling last month, agreeing with Pepsi that consumers could be confused.
Pepsi has lost similar cases across Europe and Coke has played down the UK ruling. A spokeswoman says the decision relates only to the United Kingdom and only to its attempts to register Ipsei as a UK registered trademark.
She says: “The decision does not prevent The Coca-Cola Company using Ipsei in the United Kingdom.”
Coca-Cola is currently considering whether or not to file an appeal – it has until the December 15 to do so.
Trademark law expert Jeremy Phillips, editor of The European Trade Mark Reports, says the decision does not mean that Coca-Cola will have to pull Ipsei off the shelves or rename it.
Ipsei contains African rooibos plant extract, antioxidants and vitamins. It has been positioned as a “functional” soft drink. Coke was hoping to appeal to female consumers aged 30 and over looking for healthy non-carbonated drinks.
Coca-Cola launched Ipsei in Germany and The Netherlands in 2004. It trialed it in Boots stores in the UK in August 2005 (MW August 5 2005). But, the Coke spokeswoman says: “After the trial we did not see a consumer opportunity in GB for Ipsei and it is no longer distributed in the UK.”