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  • Writer's pictureTodd

Color Trademarks

A color mark is when the mark itself is the color used on a particular object, whether it is the entire surface, a portion of the goods, or packaging. Color can never be inherently distinctive. You must have acquired distinctiveness to have color registered as a mark on the Principal Register, and it must identify the source of the goods.

You also cannot register a color as a trademark when the color is functional, such as orange for a safety sign or black for an outboard motor.

Here are some examples of color marks:

The color pink on insulation owned by Owen Corning is the classic example of a registered trademark that is a color. Owen Corning also has a registered trademark for “the color pink as applied to adhesive tape in its entirety”?

Another textbook example deals with cleaning press pads in a “green-gold” color.

There is also Tiffany Blue for the color of boxes. “The mark consists of a shade of blue often referred to as robin's-egg blue which is used on boxes.” Nike and Tiffany recently issued a collaboration pair of Air Force Ones with the Swoosh in Tiffany blue.

Christian Louboutin has a registered trademark for the “red lacquered outsole on footwear that contrasts with the color of the adjoining ("upper") portion of the shoe.” Essentially, the red sole is the trademark.

Purple recently obtained registrations for the color purple applied to the entire surface of the goods, specifically with regard to mattresses.

The United Parcel Service, also known as UPS, has a registration for “the color brown applied to the vehicles used in performing the services” of delivery of personal property.

The “color copper applied to the top one-third of a battery” is a registered trademark owned by Duracell. You can see how effective have a color mark registration can be, because most consumers will know the difference between the silver battery with the bunny and the copper top.

Please note that the information contained in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and not as specific legal advice. The facts of your situation may differ from this general information. It is not intended to and does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship.

If you wish to schedule a consultation, let’s work together on your trademark needs


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