Is the packaging of your product so distinctive that consumers can instantly recognize you of the source of the item? If so, read on to learn how you may be able to secure a trademark for your product packaging.
Trademarks help point consumers to the source of a good or service. In most cases, trademarks consist of words, logos, phrases, or a combination thereof. But there may be cases where source identifiers like colors (think Tiffany Blue), scents (example: Play-Doh smell) or even packaging can be trademarked if they are truly distinctive and unique to the brand.
Two Ways to Trademark Distinctive Packaging
Trademarks for distinctive packaging may be secured in two ways:
- Protecting the aesthetic of the complete packaging. This is called “trade dress.” Think, for example, of a uniquely shaped wine bottle. If you can identify the winemaker just by looking at the distinctive shape of the bottle when browsing the wine store, the producer may be eligible for trademark protection on that packaging.
- Protecting the aesthetic of a particular aspect or element of the packaging. If your packaging has a unique feature that is unlike anything in the marketplace and customers can readily identify you as the source of this aspect of the packaging, you may be eligible for a trademark on that feature. Think of the green top on the Siracha bottle from Huy Fong Foods, Inc.
You Will Still Likely Need Trademark Protection for the Product Itself
One important thing to keep in mind: trademark protection for product packaging is just that: it protects the way the packaging looks or operates and nothing else. As part of your overall intellectual property product strategy, you will still likely need to secure trademarks to protect the actual product that you are selling, including the product name or logo.
Have Additional Questions?
An experienced Intellectual Property attorney can help you identify each element of your brand that may qualify for trademark protection. We invite you to schedule an appointment with our firm by calling 888-666-0062. We are available to meet with clients anywhere in the United States via video conference or in-person at our Charleston, South Carolina office.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.