So have you ever picked up a Coca-Cola bottle, and wondered how those grooves haven’t been replicated by any other pop company in the world? Or stepped into an Apple Store and admired how they have mastered the layout of their amazing products? Or even a Chipotle, you would know you were in one even if it didn’t have the store name posted up front! So why exactly is that?
Well, one of the ways these companies have protected their distinct layouts and their product’s look and feel is through the use of Trade Dress protection. Trade Dress protects the non-functional but distinctive “look and feel” of something! Trade Dress extends beyond the logo (trademark) and seeks to protect the tangible and intangible aspects of an object. In all, you can seek to protect a color, a combination of colors, size, shapes, configurations, texture, weight, and even graphics!
Hence, Trade Dress is like a special branch of trademark law, so it may act as an extra layer of intellectual property protection for your product, store, or more. An example of how Trade Dress can add a layer of attack was the 2011 Apple lawsuit filed against an impostor company in Asia that had literally opened up 22 identical Apple stores, complete with knock-off Apple (and competitor) products…even the employees that worked there thought they worked at an actual Apple Store.
Bottom line: When it comes to IP law, know that there are many ways to shield your hard work, and one of these could be through the use of trade dress!
Remember: Do not post detailed and confidential information here, this is a public forum and if you want to keep your secrets a secret (and confidential), keep it private! Also, an attorney-client relationship is not at all established here, this blog is just for informational purposes- so let’s keep it that way!