Colors as Registered Trademarks?
With increasing awareness of the importance of intellectual property in the recent decade business of all sizes are paying more attention to other forms of trademarks as corporate assets. Color is one of them. Although it is allowed to register a color as a trademark, the requirements to obtain registration are more rigorous than ordinary marks. For instance, it is necessary that the consumers associate the color with the company as the source of the goods or services.
As with every rule there are exceptions: colors cannot be registered as trademarks if they serve a functional purpose, such as:
Yellow and orange construction vests
Brown for chocolates
White and red for Italian and Mexican restaurants
Yellow for mustard, etc.
Functionality is an absolute bar for registration.
Well-known examples of trademarked colors include Christian #Louboutin’s red shoe soles, #UPS’s brown for trucks, #Tiffany’s blue for packaging, Home Depot’s orange for marketing material, #Cadbury’s purple packaging and John Deere’s green/yellow for powered equipment.
Ownership of a #trademarked color does not mean one owns the color per se, but instead the use of a the color in specific instances, packaging, goods or services in a specific industry.