Trademarking Brand Colours

posted on 9th Nov 2018

Back in August 2017, The Prince Estate and Pantone Colour Institute created a standardized custom colour to represent and honour the late international icon called Love Symbol #2.

The (naturally) purple hue, represented by his “Love Symbol #2” was inspired by his custom-made Yamaha purple piano, which was originally scheduled to go on tour with the performer before his untimely passing at the age of 57. The colour pays tribute to Prince’s indelible mark on music, art, fashion and culture.

Now, The Prince Estate submitted an application to trademark the iconic purple. If successful, film and music producers could be banned from using it.  

Can brands own colours?

Well not exactly. While it is impossible to patent a colour, it is possible to trademark one for certain uses. To trademark a colour, the colour must be part of the brand. This means if other brands in the same industry used that colour it would cause confusion.

But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to use Love Symbol #2 if Prince’s Estate wins the trademark. The trademark only means that without the holder’s permission, no one can use it in film or musical performances in a way that leads the audience to associate with Prince.

 What other colours are trademarked?

Here are a few of my favourites:

Tiffany Blue has been trademarked since 1998 and has a custom Pantone number 1837 – the year the company was founded!

Since 2010, Barbie Pink has been trademarked for use in more than 100 categories.

Since the 1800s royal purple has been associated with chocolate company Cadbury, but recently the company has been losing the battle to use Pantone 2685C exclusively. Cadbury originally won the case in High Court against Nestle U.K. but the ruling was overturned.

UPS first used the colour brown on its vehicles in 1916 and back then brown was considered a luxurious colour.

My personal favourite, Pantone colour #159 – The University of Texas Burnt Orange.

 

Katelynn Spaid, Social Media Coordinator 

Katelynn Spaid moved to Dublin from Austin, Texas in March 2017 to work as the Social Media Coordinator for Neworld. She received her degree from Texas Tech University in Public Relations and has extensive experience in social media management, content marketing and sales. At Neworld, she has developed an appreciation for branding and its relationship with design effectiveness. She admires the creativity and enthusiasm of her colleagues and is happy to be a part of the show by promoting and celebrating their work.