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Can a Company Own a Specific Color?

Trademarking, branding and color copyright.

This was a topic brought up today in the Visual Communication class that got everyone thinking. Can a company trademark a color?

The initial answer we settled on was no, but after further discussion, we believe the answer is yes, under certain circumstances.

We know that companies can trademark fonts and symbols, but colors is a whole new level. Tiffany-Blue-Box

Tiffany Blue is one very common, well-known color. The color is mentioned and almost everyone can picture those little blue bags or boxes, but does Tiffany & Co. copyright that popular color? The answer is yes, however, the color (hex numbers) can be used on another product as long as that product is in a different industry.

For example, Nike has a women’s shoe that resembles the exact same Tiffany Blue color, but it is acceptable because Nike does not make jewelry so it does not compete with the same audience as Tiffany.

Coke Cola cannot sue target for the, very close resembling, red color because the companies are not similar, and they do not overlap and are in completely different industries.

“Trademarking a color simply allows a company to use a particular combination and shade of color in its own industry” (Business Insider). The company does not OWN the color thougchristian-louboutin-hotchick-pumpsh.

Christian Louboutin recently won the right trademark the signature red heels on his shoes. This opens the question about what can and cannot be trademarked… This opens the question on whether or not Macys and Carson’s could battle head-to-head because they both use red, with different symbols, and are in the same industry.