Facing Trade Dress Issues? Let Us Help.

Trade Dress is just like a Trademark in that it identifies the source of the product. Trade Dress protects the design, packaging, or style of the product in the way that it is identified in the minds of consumers.

However, Trade Dress does not apply to functional aspects of a product’s design. For example, the Coca Cola glass bottle shape is a protected Trade Dress because consumers know, with or without the label, the Cola that is distributed in those bottles is made by the Coca Cola manufacturing company.

On the other hand, Coca Cola cans are exactly the same shape and design as Pepsi Cola cans, being short and stackable. This stackable aspect of the product makes the design functional. Because the design is functional, the cans are not a protectable Trade Dress.

Another example of Trade Dress are the red bottoms of the famous designer shoes, Louboutin. There is no functional aspect of making the bottom of the shoe red. However, the red bottom has become a source identifier in the minds of consumers because people who are in the market for those shoes see the red bottom and know that Louboutin is the manufacturer.

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