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Color Trademarks and Fashion: Branding That “Pops"

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 | Posted by Lizbeth Hasse, Esq. | Labels: ,

Color trademarks are those which use a color alone as the brand for a product, what trademark experts call a “source indicator.” Color marks are considered non-traditional trademarks, and they are generally disfavored by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Nonetheless, some color marks have achieved “distinctiveness,” that is, the degree of public recognition as a source indicator compels the USPTO to allow owners to register the color as a mark in their field of commerce.

For example, United Parcel Service holds a registration [Reg. No. 2901090] for “the color chocolate brown” [Pantone 462C] as applied to the entire surface of vehicles and uniforms” for the service of delivering personal property. Yellow is registered by the USPTO [Reg. No. 78706568] to the Lance Armstrong Foundation as a single color for wristbands for use in charitable fundraising.


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