Does Coca Cola have a claim in relation to the image of Santa Claus (which it has been using since the 1930s) in its Christmas advertising ?
Not so, unless it can produce concrete evidence that over the years, an association has developed in the mind of the average consumer between the Coca Cola fizzy drink and Santa Claus. Registering a trade mark to protect its Santa Claus image will be difficult, unless Coca Cola can show substantial evidence of such an association.
Any rights that Coca Cola may have are likely to be interpreted narrowly and limited to soft drinks.
Can companies trademark a mythical figure, and if not, what real right do they have to the value created? While it is a common myth that the red and white robes worn by Santa Claus are the creation of Coca-Cola, it is in fact the case that Coca-Cola’s use of Santa in its Christmas advertising has cemented the popular image of him as a rotund character with a white beard and rosy cheeks, wearing red robes with a white fur trim. That raises the question of whether Coca-Cola owns any rights in this depiction of Santa that could be enforced in the courts if a competitor were to use this image in advertising their own products.