Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Colors can be trademarked by companies

Companies in New Jersey and throughout the country may be able to claim a trademark over a color. For instance, T-Mobile has successfully claimed a trademark for the color magenta, and it asserted those rights in a lawsuit against an insurance company called Lemonade. A trademark is typically granted when a company has managed to use a logo, word or color in a way that distinguishes itself from the competition.

While trademarks do need to be renewed every 10 years, they can last for an indefinite period of time. If a company has a trademark, it has the exclusive right to use it unless it gives another entity permission to do so. There have been many reasons given as to why a single color shouldn't be eligible to be trademarked. One argument is that there are a limited number of colors, which means that there would eventually be none to protect.

However, when Owens-Corning came out with its "think pink" marketing slogan, people started to change their minds on the issue. The company would eventually win a trademark for the color pink in 1985. It is important to note that a company can only trademark a color as it relates to the services it provides or the products that it sells. Furthermore, a business must generally show that other companies aren't already using it.

Companies that are looking to trademark a jingle, phrase or other intellectual property may want to do so with the help of an attorney. An attorney may be able to help with trademark searches or take other steps to determine if a trademark is available. Legal counsel may also be able to help companies protect their existing intellectual property rights in court if another person or entity tries to infringe on them.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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