December 2018. The Absolut Company, the Swedish drinks manufacturer that markets Absolut vodka, has been told it can’t stop gin-maker Crafter’s from registering the shape of its bottle as a European trademark. The Opposition Division of European Trademark Office EUIPO ruled that Crafter’s bottle does not infringe the shape marks registered by Absolut.

Shape mark registration no. 9906165 Absolut

Sufficiently different due to device elements

According to EUIPO, there simply isn’t enough similarity between the shape marks of the Absolut and Crafter’s bottles. In particular, the device and text elements on the Crafter’s bottle make them sufficiently different, EUIPO said.

Bottle shape takes centre-stage in marketing

The ruling must be a huge let-down for Pernod Ricard, Absolut’s parent company, given that the distinctive shape of the Absolut bottle has always taken centre-stage in its marketing campaigns. After all, if you had to name a single packaging whose shape has become distinctive through frequent advertising, it’s the Absolut vodka bottle.

Marketing of Absolut, focussing on the shape of the bottle