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Trade dress refers to the characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging to signify the manufacturer of the product.  Trade dress is a form of intellectual property that can be legally protected. Basically, everything that creates the overall look and feel of a brand in the marketplace could be a trade dress. A product’s trade dress is protected by the Lanham Act. Registration is not required for legal protection. However, registration with the USPTO has advantages. A registrant gains incontestable status after five years, which eliminates may the options a third party has to challenge the registration. To gain registration, a trade dress must be “distinctive” but not “functional.” An example of something that is not functional would be a distinct liqueur bottle with a shape that is designed strictly to promote recognition of the product.

Helping Safeguard Your Intellectual Property

When you have invested time and money in intellectual property, it is important to take the proper steps to protect your work product or idea to the fullest. To discuss how we can assist you with your intellectual property needs, contact us by email or call our office locally at 601-957-3101.