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.
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.
Trade dress includes, among others, features such as:
- Color or color combinations
Trademark typically only involves a set of words or a logo.
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.
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.
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.