Business

5 Brands that Have Trademarked Colours

This column is authored by QuickCompany Associate Kapila Tanwar

brands coloursBeing a layman, I have no clue what colours indigo or lavender look like. But I can recognise the worldwide brands represented by these colours.

Colour is important in branding because it is the foremost thing that people remember when they look at the logo. To achieve the recognition brands have to peg their signature colour.

A specific Pantone colour in the brand identity of a specific type of product. But don’t get confused with the colour of brand and a colour trademark. Appearing trademark symbol on brand’s image does not mean any legal right to the colour.

A colour trademark is different. Colour trademark apply to unique situations because it’s not possible to permit a colour to every business.

Does this mean that none can ever use these trademark colours again? I could get the judge ordering these companies to refrain from logos that bear any resemblance to T-Mobile’s, but a colour? What’s next?

IBM claiming they can only use the blue because their nickname is ‘Big Blue’? Would Penn State have a right to sue them as they also use blue in their logo? Facebook for that matter, could they turn around and sue both companies for using the blue colour?

Have a look on some famous brands that have successfully trademarked the colours.

  1. Purple Cadbury

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Colour protection is not unique to chocolate bars. Chocolate in any other packaging colour would not taste the same? Who owns the purple colour?

A certain shade of purple colour applied to the whole visual surface that has been linked with Cadbury for more than a century.

Cadbury, a chocolatier wrapping its chocolate bars in royal purple colour, had a long battle over its trademark of the purple colour. Cadbury’s dairy milk won the battle and possessed the rights to a purple shade.

Anyone can use the purple colour for their non-chocolate product; even the chocolate manufacturer can use the predominant colour but not on the whole visual surface of packaging.

Wearing Cadbury’s purple shade would prolly be a fashion faux-pas, but it’s not illegal yet.

  1. Red Soled Louboutin Shoes

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The luxury French shoe designer, Christian Louboutin whose high-end stiletto footwear incorporates shiny, red-lacquered soles that have becomes his signature.

The two well-known design houses- Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent had a dispute for using a red lacquered outsoles on highly prices women’s shoe. The court rules in favour of Louboutin, and the exclusive right to use the red sole on the bottom of the shoe remains with him.

His most popularly known red leather sole on high heel shoe which is commonly referred to as Sammy red soled shoes has gained enough public recognition in the market.

  1. Tiffany’s Robins Egg Blue

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Forget-me-not-blue! Turquoise! Aqua! Robin’s egg blue!

Call it by any name, but it all belongs to Tiffany blue. All you need is a gift of a Robin Blue Box to make a heart skip a beat.

The heritage of fabled fine jeweller Tiffany & Co.- the glittering diamonds are encased in the Tiffany blue box. That robin’s egg blue colour is trademarked. In fact, the packaging in the blue box with white satin ribbon is also trademarked. And yes, the term ‘Tiffany Blue Box’ is trademarked too.

A little aqua coloured box become the cubic embodiment of material dreams and desires. 

  1. Magenta T-Mobile

brands trademark colours

It’s all about magenta! The magenta ‘T’, a single letter word with an unexpected colour in the crowded telecommunication market place, is an easily recognisable symbol of T-Mobile.

If you are redesigning your blog, magenta can’t be your main colour. T-Mobile’s disclaimers that the magenta colour is a T-Mobile trademark. T-Mobile owns magenta and will not tolerate any use of it in the same business sector.

T-Mobile and its parent company Deutsche Telekom registered a colour mark for magenta for their mobile telephone materials. T-Mobile is suing everyone who dares to use magenta because they consider the magenta colour a part of their brand.

  1. Barbie’s Pink

brands trademark colours

A spunky girly colour, pink is associated with Barbie. The colour itself named as Barbie pink colour which is used in Barbie’s logo, packaging and promotional materials.

Toymaker company Mattel Inc. owns the colour mark to the colour pink which is used in hundred categories from bubble bath to cereal.

Barbie pink, the trademark colour dominated the doll’s accessories. If you think about Barbie, you just couldn’t walk away from pink.


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