Coca-Cola syrup was created in the 1880s by pharmacist Dr. John Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1889, Pemberton sold the formula and brand for $2,300 (approximately $68,000 in 2021) to Asa Griggs Candler, who incorporated the Coca-Cola company in Atlanta in 1892. Originally, the drink contained coca leaf and kola nut, which added a stimulant effect to the drink (cocaine is another byproduct of the coca plant). These ingredients are no longer added today.
Initially, the soft drink was available via soda fountains rather than bottled or canned today. The unique coke contour bottle – a pop culture icon now, wouldn’t be used by bottlers until 1916. It would be almost two decades until the brand expanded enough for bottling to take place on a larger scale.
Though slightly controversial due to the reported health risks of consuming too much soda, the Coca-Cola company goes from strength to strength. It is one of the most popular soda brands, with around 2 billion servings of Coca-Cola being consumed per day; it’s the most popular non-alcoholic beverage and is recognizable in over 90% of the world.
With that said, it’s important to remember that the Coca-Cola company doesn’t just sell cola; multiple other brands are overseen by the Coca-Cola company, including sprite and Fanta. The company has also been part of several multi-million dollar acquisitions, including the recent acquisition of Costa Coffee from Whitbread for almost 4 billion US dollars.
Famous Coca-Cola Trademarks
Coca-Cola is a multi-billion dollar company with a wealth of intellectual property. To protect this IP, Coke, like many other companies, registered its marks with the USPTO.
Let’s look at a few trademarks, including logos and brand names owned by the Coca-Cola company.
Share a Coke, Share a Moment.
The ”Share a coke” campaign was an international marketing campaign; it rebrands the traditional Coca-Cola logo and replaces Coca-Cola on one side of the bottle with the phrase ”share a coke with *name*”. The campaign, which uses the list of a country’s 250 most popular names, aims to have people go out and find a bottle with their or a friend’s name on it. The campaign began in 2011 in Australia.
”Share a coke, share a moment” was registered in 2015 and is applicable for use in advertisements, and goods and services in the soft drink category.
Coca Cola Logo
Frank M Robinson designed the first variation of the Coca-Cola logo, written in Spencerian Script (which was very popular at the time). The trademark was granted in 1893. The logo has undergone some changes since but still stays relatively faithful to the initial style, with the same core script logo and swirls. In the 1960sCoca cola added a red background, and the logo was a fishtail or Arciform design. By 2007, the logo had a more straightforward design with a plain red background and a white ribbon underlining the writing. The Coca-Cola script logo has become synonymous with the company.
Diet coke represented the low-calorie version of Coca-Cola and was invented in 1982. It quickly became the highest-selling low-calorie drink in America. Their logo is similar to that of Coca-Cola but is also distinct. Diet is written in stylized script, with ”coke” written in bold red lettering, often on a silver-gray background.
The brand name ”diet coke” is also trademarked, for use in the following category:
- There are goods and services in non-alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, and fruit juice drinks.
Coca-Cola Life was a reduced-calorie version of Coca-Cola, made using stevia and sugar. It was first trialed in Argentina and Chile. The formulation varied by market location, and in some areas, the original formulation had been phased out in favor of a zero-calorie version sweetened with stevia only. The drink was discontinued in 2020 as part of The Coca-Cola Company stopping underperforming brands, and until recently, it could still be found in some stores. The Coca-Cola company still retains full exclusive rights to the trademark, registered in 2013, and some speculate that they could relaunch the product in the future.
Both the logo (A green background with white ”Coca Cola Life” written on it) and brand were registered as trademarks in 2013, applicable in the category:
- Goods and services in non-alcoholic beverages and soft drinks.
The Coca-Cola company trademark registered the individual word mark ”coke” in 2003 to prevent competitors from using it commercially.
The trademark applies to the following categories:
- Board games, checker sets, Christmas decorations, and accessories of all kinds.
- Golf balls, tees, golf clubs, golf bags, and other golf accessories.
- Toy electric trains, toy train sets.
- Building figurines, action figures.
- Purses, handbags, general gear, carrying bags, billfolds, gym bags, backpacks, luggage tags.
- Plates, cups, drinking glasses, steins, mugs, tumblers, salt and pepper shakers, household and kitchenware.
- Cutting boards, cookie cutters.
- Lunch boxes and thermally insulated wraps.
- Cloths, linens, towels, and dishcloths.
- Curtains and bath towels.
Cherry Coke Zero
Cherry Coke Zero was introduced in 2005 as part of the coke zero low-calorie beverage range. It has been one of the most successful zero-calorie cola-based beverages and rivaled Pepsi Max Cherry.
The trademark for cherry coke zero was registered in 2005 and is applicable in the Non-alcoholic beverages, soft drink category.
Coca Cola Energy Logo
Coca-Cola launched its first energy drink in 2019 (In Hungary and Spain initially). The all-new drink is popular and features caffeine and other ingredients as energy sources; it includes a familiar Coca-Cola taste and an energy boost. The trademark filing for the logo took place in 2019.
The logo consists of stylized words ”Coca-Cola” inside a disc, and the word Energy appears vertically below the disc.
Coca Cola Word Mark
The name Coca-Cola is a registered trademark, and the USPTO recorded its first use in 1898. The wordmark covers the following categories:
- Drinking straws, bar stools, plastic keyrings, and other novelty items.
- Purses, handbags, general carrying bags, billfolds, gym bags, and backpacks.
- Paper coasters, stationery, prints, Christmas cards, lunch bags.
- Menu boards, recipe books, recipe cards, art prints.
- Watches, parts for watches, jewelry, including lapel pins.
- Disposable cameras, MP3 players, audiotape players, cellphone covers, eyeglass cases.
- Flatware, can openers, and other kitchen accessories.
- Decorative plates, porcelain figurines.
- Barbeque utensils, bottle openers, portable coolers, and iceboxes.
- Bedding, home linens, curtains, table cloths, bath mats, rugs.
- Christmas tree ornaments, tree skirts, garlands.
- Playing cards, board games.
- Toys, baby toys, accessories.
- Plastic, wooden, metal, and resin boxes.
- Air mattresses.
- Drinking glasses, tankards, ashtrays.
- Clothing for men, women, and children.
- Protective clothing, oven mitts, aprons.
- Bottle covers, coasters.
Trademark protection is an often overlooked part of running your own business; whether you’re running a small business or you’re the CEO of a corporate giant like the Coca-Cola company, registering your intellectual property with the trademark office is one of the single most significant steps you can take to protect yourself. Trademark and copyright law sets out a framework that will let you access legal recourse if a competitor compromises something specific to your company. Still, you can only access these crucial legal protections by taking the first step and submitting a trademark application.