As part of our Trademark practice, we provide trade dress services.

Trade dress is a subcategory of trademark law that refers to the overall image (look and feel) of a product or service that identifies its source and distinguishes it from those of others. Trade dress protection applies to product packaging, design, or configuration of goods. For services, trade dress applies to the “total visual image” such as a restaurant’s décor, menu, layout, and style of service. A company’s trade dress can be extremely valuable by distinguishing its goods and services from competitors and attracting customers to its brand. A couple of well-known examples are the shape of a Coca-Cola glass bottle and Apple's store design.

Trade Dress Protection

It can be difficult to obtain trade dress protection because the threshold requirements to achieve protection are more stringent and complicated than for traditional trademarks. Our substantial experience in all facets of trade dress, including trade dress registration, trade dress enforcement, and defense of trade dress claims, enables us to ease clients through the process of protecting their trade dress. We work with our clients at all steps of the trade dress protection process. We offer a comprehensive approach to the development, protection, and enforcement of trade dress to manage and control the company’s image.

Enforceability of trade dress often overlaps with other areas of intellectual property law, including copyrights and patents. Our extensive trademark protection experience, coupled with our experience in other areas of intellectual property, allows us to help clients identify all aspects of protection and work to fully protect their rights.

Trade Dress Registration

Like a trademark, trade dress protection can be achieved through use or through federal registration. Although registration is not required for legal trade dress protection, trade dress registration offers several advantages. However, trade dress registration can be challenging. The trade dress must be both distinctive (i.e., recognizable to consumers as source identifying) and nonfunctional (i.e., not be essential to the use or purpose of the product or service and not affect the cost or quality of the product or service). Functional trade dress is not registrable even if it is distinctive.

Given the challenges associated with trade dress registration, drafting an application for registration of trade dress that addresses and complies with the requirements for trade dress registration and protection is valuable. Our attorneys have extensive experience in trade dress protection and help clients maximize their chances of trade dress registration and obtain the broadest trade dress protection possible.

Trade Dress Disputes and Trade Dress Infringement Litigation

We have extensive experience with trade dress litigation. Read more about our litigation services at our intellectual property litigation overview page and our business litigation overview page, including Trade Dress Litigation and Trademark Litigation.

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