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Colors and Trademarks

Philip Matthews

Red bottom shoe

Looks are everything. Sorry, kind of superficial, but it’s true. Color-specific trademarks are becoming more common, whether for chocolate, jewelry, sports products, or shoes. Colors serve as trademarks to indicate to a prospective consumer that a good bearding a certain color originates from a certain company and embodies certain traits.

For example, shortly after my wife and I married we received a wedding present in an aqua blue box. My wife instantly knew where the gift was from. It was a pair of candlestick holders from Tiffany.

Some companies which have successfully utilized colors for trademarks include Nike, Tiffany, Christian Louboutin, and Cadbury.

For the swank in us, there was a throwdown between two shoe companies over the color red on the sole of a show: Yves St. Laurent v. YSL

So what does this mean for you? I don’t hold myself out as a marketing expert (these people do – article) but my understanding is that consumers recognize and react to color quicker than any logo or product name. This means when you’re the only one making a pair of shoes with a specific color that is popular and you own a valid trademark on it = monopoly = $$. This exclusivity gives you instant brand recognition and desirability. So, when you invent that glowing purple hot dog bun everyone wants to buy, file for a registered trademark on it.

If you have questions about non-traditional trademarks or intellectual property, in general, please give us a call or send an email. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Colors and Trademarks

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