FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Should I Claim Color as a Feature of My Trademark ?

Some companies use very specific colors as part of their brand identity.

Is it beneficial to claim those colors as a trademark feature?

The answer is complicated. Watch this video to learn more.


Should I Claim Color as a Feature of My Trademark?

If you have a brand that you associate with specific colors, either the brand itself, a background, or the combination of colors, maybe a pattern, something that has to do with colors, the question is always, "Should we file it in color, should we file it in black and white, or maybe both?"

There are a couple of different strategies around this.

Con: Claiming Color Can Limit Protection

In one sense, when you claim color, you limit the scope of protection for what the brand itself is. So for example, if you have a name in a specific font and you think, “We want to make sure it is trademarked in green because that's how we always use it”, you can do so.

However, if someone were to file for a trademark with the same trademark in purple instead, your brand wouldn’t be protected from that happening. In these cases, the other applicant will be able to argue that, because the trademark is in a different color, it isn’t the same and therefore isn’t encroaching on your trademark.

The Trademarks Office will allow a smaller difference between the two brands to coexist if you claim a color. So if the color is not essential to your brand, there is limited benefit to claiming it on your application. Your trademark should cover all aspects of your brand that you want to protect. If color is not part of that, there’s no need to include it in your application.

Pro: Claiming Color Can Provide Stronger Identity Protection

On the other hand, if green is what the market recognizes you by, then we actually encourage you to file with that color to protect your brand identity. This is a common strategy that a lot of companies take when color is important to their brand.

Sometimes, the best solution for protecting your trademark is to register the same brand twice. 

The first time, you file it claiming color, and the second time around, you must file two applications right away, without claiming color. This way you get the best of both worlds. 

You have protection for your color, but you also have more general protection for your brand so that other companies can’t infringe in minor ways.

Trademark Protection Strategy

Again, remember, trademarks are not about expenses, trademarks are about protecting your valuable assets. So, don't try to save a few hundred dollars here and there. Try to build an asset that might end up worth millions. Make sure you do the right thing and just look at it from the perspective of, "Is it a valuable asset that I want to protect?"

If your answer is “yes”, you should do whatever it takes to protect it. 

If not, then you don't need a trademark. But the question then is, you should step back and consider where this brand DOES have value. Once you establish your company and brand, you should want to grow its value.

That can be incredibly difficult to achieve if you’re not protecting its value. That’s ultimately what your trademark is for, and that’s why you apply for one.


Disclaimer: Please note that this post and this video are not and are not intended as legal advice. Your situation may be different from the facts assumed in this post or video. Your reading this post or watching this video does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and Trademark Factory International Inc., and you should not rely on this post or this video as the only source of information to make important decisions about your intellectual property.