Trademarks are meant to protect and distinguish your brand’s unique identity. So if you think about it, it really makes sense that there are other things you can trademark aside from your logo, name or slogan. Here is a list of some other things that you can trademark to protect your brand including a few different types of trade dresses (distinctive visual elements of a product or service) and also, believe it or not, a sound.
1. Trademark colors
Have you ever wondered why any girl will get excited when they tear back the corner of wrapping paper and see that famous trademarked Tiffany blue? This is because specific colors can often lead consumers to instantly make brand associations. ( Tiffany blue = fine jewelry and quite possibly diamonds? ) This is why the act of trademarking a color (referred to as a “trade dress” in trademark law) is actually quite popular among many high-profile brands.
Do not get too excited and rush to trademark a color though. Keep in mind, you cannot trademark a color just because; you must have proof that your specific color distinguishes your brand from competitors in your industry. (Just like Tiffany’s blue does so well)
So, does your company what to be known for a specific color? If so what color distinguishes your brand?
2. Trademark product packing shapes
Coca Cola’s classic bottle is an example of a trademarked product packaging shape. The bottle’s iconic shape identifies and distinguishes the brand so well that even if you held the bottle in the dark, you would know it was Coca-Cola. For this strong brand recognition gained by the mere shape of the bottle alone, Coca-Cola was not willing to give up its bottle’s hour glass figure. Coca-Cola sought and obtained a federal trademark registration for its iconic bottle shape in 1960 thus permitting the soda company to protect its bottle design indefinitely.
Do you have a unique product packaging shape that makes your product stand out? If so, think about filing a trademark. If your product packaging shape serves a functional purpose, you must file a patent to protect its shape.
3. Trademark product packaging designs
In a recent case, marijuana infused candy company, TinctureBelle, LLC imitated the packaging design of Hershey’s Reese’s. To say the least, Hershey was not happy to potentially be mixed up with a marijuana candy. So if your packaging design is unique and distinguishes your brand, it may be a good idea to protect this trade dress in order to impede imitators from damaging your brand.
4. Trademark Sounds
The anticipation of home movie night is often enjoyed by the popping of popcorn, cozying up in pajamas and the iconic sound of 20th century Fox fanfare playing as the TV screen lays a light blue glow amidst your face. This Fox fanfare is so uniquely memorable that many automatically associate the grandiose musical harmony automatically with movie night and the Fox brand specifically. After all, as you see the image above don’t you hear the music playing in your head?
This type of sound – the musical notes that bring a certain delightful nostalgia to consumers about a certain brand – is likely eligible for trademark protection.
So will your company or startup file a trademark to protect your brand’s unique color, product packaging shape/design or jingle?