Most companies have a palette as part of their branding.
- The shocking pink of the Barbie® aisle at the toy store.
- The purple and orange of a FedEx® package.
- The red and white of a can of Campbell’s® soup.
- The blue of the Twitter® bird.
Some companies go farther and claim color AS their trademark rather than as a feature of their trademark. How is that different? Let’s looks at an example:
The description of the trademark for the registration for the Twitter® bird reads like this:
“The mark consists of a silhouette of a bird in flight in the color blue.”
The description of the trademark for the registration for Tiffany® blue reads like this:
“The mark consists of a shade of blue that is used on product packaging in the form of jewelry pouches with drawstrings.”
See the difference? The Twitter® trademark consists of the bird that happens to be blue. The Tiffany trademark consists of a shade of blue that happens to appear on product packaging.
It’s subtle, but for a trademark attorney, it’s a pretty big difference. Someone using the same blue as the Twitter bird is much less likely to be infringing than someone using Tiffany blue.
There are more color marks than you think. Here’s a sampling. See if you can identify the companies that own each of these color marks. Answers are below.
The mark consists of the color chocolate brown, which is the approximate equivalent of Pantone Matching System 462C, as applied to the entire surface of vehicles and uniforms.Hint: Delivery services
The mark consists of an orange-colored background covering the entirety of the packaging for the goods. The orange color is approximately equivalent to pantone 165C. The mark consists of color alone.Hint: Candy
The mark consists of the color canary yellow used over the entire surface of the goods.Hint: Stationary notes
The mark consists of the color pink as applied to the entirety of the goods.Hint: Building insulation
The mark consists of the color combination green and yellow in which green is applied to an exterior surface of the machine and a yellow stripe is applied to a portion of the exterior surface.Hint: Riding mowers
Thanks to Sarah C. for the suggestion that led to this blog post.