Trade Dress is a distinctive, nonfunctional feature that distinguishes a merchant’s or manufacturer’s goods or services from those of another. The trade dress of a product can include the color of the packaging and the configuration of goods, among other aspects. Examples include the packaging for Wonder Bread and the maroon and gold color scheme of a McDonald’s restaurant.

Can You Claim Trade Dress Protection?

You can claim trade dress protection if your trade dress is distinctive and indicates your source of business. You can also claim trade dress protection if the public mistakenly associates other products with yours because of similar packaging.

What is the Difference between Trade Dress and Trademark?

Trade dress includes, among others, features such as:

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Color or color combinations
  • Graphics

Trademark typically only involves a set of words or a logo. 

Can I Register My Trade Dress?

Trade dress can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office the same way that trademarks are. Registering a trade dress can be difficult, however, because in some instances it is hard to express a trade dress in drawings or words. 

Why Protect your Trade Dress?

Registering your trade dress prevents other companies from using similar product dressing or packaging. This prevents consumers from confusing your products with those of another producer.

Should I Consult a Lawyer about my Trade Dress Issue?

Trade dress is a complicated and sometimes ill-defined area of law. An experienced intellectual property attorney can help you protect your trade dress. A trademark attorney can also represent you in court if you are involved in a trade dress infringement suit.