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Ultimate Protection: Colour Trade Mark

By November 15, 2018February 9th, 2023IP Insights

Since the news that Prince’s Estate have filed a United States Trade Mark Application for the colour purple, a lot of people were asking, “Can you trade mark a colour?”.

prince colour mark 550

How likely is Prince’s Purple Reign?

Since the news that Prince’s Estate have filed a United States Trade Mark Application for the colour purple, a lot of people were asking, “Can you trade mark a colour?”.

Short answer, yes.

Just like Scent Trade Marks, a colour trade mark can be obtained for a specific shade of colour, or combination of colours, if it is distinctive to a brand or product.  However, successfully registering a colour trade mark can be difficult, particularly for individual colours.  For example, the battle over the colour green between BP and Woolworths.

Join in the conversation! facebook round linkedin round Do you think Prince’s Estate will be successful in obtaining the colour trade mark?

cadbury purple

Essentially the colour (or combination of) has to be the trade mark, and not just a part of the goods or packaging.  In saying that, many large companies have taken advantage of this to protect their brand from competitors attempting to imitate them.

In Australia, there are already existing colour trade marks:

cricket australia caps

Let’s not forget about our neighbour, New Zealand, who were ahead of Australia for the trade mark of certain colours, such as;

duracell battery

With Paisley Park Enterprises, Prince’s company, filing a United States Trade Mark application for shades similar to Love Symbol #2 (a custom colour created by Pantone® to honour the icon), the aim is to protect that colour only being used by the owners of the coloured mark, or licensees, in the music industry.

Prince has been using purple as part of his identity for over 30 years.  However, given how rare it is to register a colour trade mark, it would be a surprise to many if Paisley Park Enterprises were to be granted the colour trade mark. 

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Interested in protecting a colour or another mark that is distinctive to your brand or product?

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