Question: Can A Color Be Protected As A Trademark?
Short Answer: Yes, color can be trademark protected in the United States.
Until the 1980’s, the U.S. trademark law refused to recognize a single color as a brand. Since then, it can serve as a source identifier of your goods or services so long as it is not functional. In order to qualify for a trademark, you must show that the color trademark has acquired distinctiveness or consumer recognition of the it with your product or service.
Trademarks’ definition by the Lanham Act as “any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof” that is uses to “identify and distinguish” one’s goods or services from those of other sources. While it does not include within the statutory definition of trademarks, and were traditionally barred from obtaining trademark protection, since 1995, singular colors and its combinations can be trademarked as part of a product, package or service, if, like any other trademark, they:
(1) serve a source identification function, and
(2) do not serve a merely decorative or utilitarian purpose.
Brand v. Trademark
▪️The color of a brand is different from its trademark
▪️ While a brand may be a trademark, it does not mean the exclusive rights extend to the color or its scheme as a trademark as well. It must be distinct!
Famous Examples of Trademarks
▪️Christian Louboutin and the red sole heeled shoes
▪️ Tiffany & Co.’s aqua blue color for bags, jewelry boxes and advertising
Do You Need Help With A Trademark?
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