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Phillips Foods gains color-based trade dress registration for packaging

Phillips Foods gains color-based trade dress registration for packaging
Food packaging, trade dress registration, branding

Food packaging, trade dress registration, brandingWhat does a small company selling crab meat out of Maryland have in common with consumer icons Tiffany & Co. and John Deere Tractor? All three possess a registration from the US Patent and Trademark Office that protects the colors identified with their brand. For example, only Tiffany & Co. can package jewelry in boxes of robin’s egg blue. And similarly, companies such as UPS and Home Depot enjoy the same sort of protection for their brands.

Companies such as these that have built their brand around a color and received broad consumer identification with that color can seek trade dress registration for that color as a crucial part of their brand. Referred to as a ‘color mark registration,’ it gives companies specific rights to the use of their colors in an industry.

In June 2009, after a three year legal campaign, Phillips Foods Inc. was awarded the exclusive right to package and sell crab meat in a black can.  

Known by consumers and chefs as the “black can crab meat,” Phillips crab meat has been packaged in a black can since 1990. With Phillips being the No.1 selling crab meat in the country, other crab-meat companies began to mimic the color and style of Phillips packaging.

SOURCE: Phillips Foods
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