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Articles

Are Colors for You? A Primer on Protecting Colors as Marks in the United States

December 18, 2009

Articles

Are Colors for You? A Primer on Protecting Colors as Marks in the United States

December 18, 2009

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Stockell, Hickey article

Catherine H. Stockell, Fish & Richardson

INTA Bulletin, Vol. 64, No. 21

November 15, 2009

Reprinted with permission from the International Trademark Association (INTA), 2009.

Color can be an integral element in the marketing of products and services. It telegraphs to consumers an immediate, distinctive message about the product or service. For example, white usually conveys the idea of purity or cleanliness, while gray can evoke an industrial, commercial or modern feel.

In a marketplace that abounds with a jarring cacophony of words, designs and slogans spread out over an ever-increasing range of marketing media, color can cut through the noise and present a simple, distinctive identity. Instant recognition. Instant message.

When we see a pink insulation product, we immediately think of Owens-Corning and its Pink Panther spokes-cartoon. Likewise, these days the color brown conjures up UPS delivery services.

While exclusive rights in individual colors cannot lightly be monopolized by any one entity, in certain cases trademark rights in a particular color can be secured within narrow and fair parameters. This article addresses how businesses can protect color as a mark in the United States.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

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