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About Trade Dress Registration

Whether your business sells a product or provides a service, you have likely invested a significant amount of time, effort, and money in your promotion and marketing. While most business owners recognize the value of trademark or patent registration, many overlook or are simply unaware that certain elements of how you market your products or services may also qualify for protection. A trade dress lawyer from ESQgo can help you get the protection your business needs. 

What Is Trade Dress?

Trade dress pertains to the various elements used in the marketing and promotion of a product or service, which can include the packaging, look and feel of the product, or how the product is displayed. At times, trade dress can include the design of the product itself. Similar to a trademark, trade dress identifies the source of the product or services. Common examples of trade dress include the following: 

  • The shape of Hershey’s kiss chocolates
  • The shape of Coca-Cola’s bottles
  • The red wax on a bottle of Maker’s Mark
  • The red tab on Levi’s jeans
  • The red soles of Christian Louboutin’s shoes
  • The colors on the packaging of Reese’s peanut butter cups

Product designers and manufacturers design the packaging and other elements of their products to catch the eye of consumers and drive sales. As a result, the law recognizes that these efforts are entitled to protection from other businesses from attempting to capitalize on their designs and brand recognition. 

Qualifying for Trade Dress Protection

Unfortunately, not all trade dress qualifies for protection. In order to claim trade protection, you must be able to demonstrate the following: 

  • The design elements are inherently distinctive or the design has acquired a secondary meaning that the public associates with the source of the product or service; and
  • The design is non-functional.

A trade dress lawyer can help you determine whether the design elements of your product qualify for trade dress protection.  

Similar to trademarks, you do have some trade dress protection from the moment of creation. However, these rights are very limited. While trade dress registration may not be available for every business, a trade dress lawyer can help you decide whether it is right for you. 

How Do I Register for Trade Dress Protection?

The process is very similar to registering a trademark. You must file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in order to register your trade dress. You can legally file your application without a lawyer, but the application is more complex than you might expect. A trade dress lawyer can help you navigate the process successfully and with minimal delays. 

Why Should I Consider Filing for Trade Dress Registration?

Generally speaking, trade dress prevents other businesses from copying elements of your products and brand. Here are some reasons why you might consider registering your trade dress:

  • Your product has a unique, non-functional design element
  • The design of your product has a secondary meaning that consumers associate with your brand.
  • Your packaging design is part of your marketing efforts and brand awareness. 

A trade dress lawyer can determine whether you would qualify for protection and then guide you through the registration process. 

Work with an Experienced Trade Dress Lawyer from ESQgo, PC

Although trade dress is a complex area of the law, successful registration of your trade dress can pay significant dividends. Invest in your business’s success – contact a trade dress lawyer at ESQgo, PC today.