Confectionery giant Cadbury has insisted it is not trying to trademark "50 shades" of purple after coming under fire from a Church of England bishop over rights to use the colour.
The company said its victory in a dispute with rival Nestle over purple packaging did not amount to a bid to copyright all shades of purple but merely to protect the Cadbury purple associated with its milk chocolate.
"We are not seeking to trademark 50 shades of purple, it is about making sure that the consumer is not confused into thinking this is a Cadbury product - that is the nature of a trademark," said a spokesman for Cadbury.
The remarks were made after fair trade company The Meaningful Chocolate Company claimed it had changed the colour of its box containing religious chocolate Christmas tree decorations after receiving legal advice that anything that could be interpreted as Cadbury purple should be avoided.
The company said the box had been Advent purple - the colour traditionally used in churches during the season of penitence and reflection in the run-up to Christmas - but was now a "warm red".
"The legal advice was very clear - it was not just purple, it was anything that could be interpreted as Cadbury's purple, from deep blue to deep red," David Marshall, from the firm, said.
Mr Marshall was backed by the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, who said: "Cadbury should reflect that before they even existed, the colour purple was around and - perish the thought - after they have gone, it will still be here.
"You may own the rights to purple, but you can't own the colour. Fighting some battles, even ones you win, can actually be demeaning. Far better to be generous, then no-one loses."
Cadbury said the Rt Rev Cottrell had got his facts wrong.
"We are not seeking to be precious about the colour purple, we are not seeking to copyright all shades of purple, we are merely seeking to protect the Cadbury purple that is associated with milk chocolate and not all other colours," said the spokesman.