question.jpgIn Trademarks

Can I protect trade dress?

In addition to words, slogans, logos, etc., trademark law sometimes affords protection of the design or packaging of a product. Specifically, if the product’s design or packaging serves to distinguish it from other products in the marketplace (and therefore acts as a source indicator), this “look and feel” of the product is known as trade dress and may be protected under the trademark laws. For example, the shape and design of the original glass Coca-Cola bottle is so well known and recognized that it is protectable trade dress. Coca- Cola could therefore prevent other soda manufacturers from distributing their colas in a similar bottle on the basis that there would be a likelihood of confusion.

The major difference between the protectability of trade dress and other forms of trademarks is that trade dress can never be inherently distinctive, which means that you must always establish that your trade dress has acquired secondary meaning to be entitled to protection.