Frequently Asked Questions
What additional protection does registering trade dress as a trademark provide?
Registering trade dress as a trademark provides additional protection, particularly in federal courts. Trade dress, which encompasses all elements that constitute the overall image of a product or service, is protected under trademark law. This includes the color, shape, size, configuration, and packaging of a product, as well as decor, architecture, or any other distinctive presentation aspect. While trade dress is protected under the Lanham (Trademark) Act, whether registered or unregistered, registering it as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers enhanced protection. The additional protection comes in handy when proving trade dress infringement under the Lanham Act. The process involves demonstrating that the trade dress is not primarily functional, is inherently distinctive or has acquired distinctiveness through secondary meaning, and that there is a likelihood of customer confusion between your product or service and others using your trade dress. Registering trade dress as a trademark can provide a stronger basis for these arguments in court.
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