Fashion and Trade Dress | Minute Law | Spear IP


You’re watching Minute Law with me, Maria Spear Ollis of Spear IP. So what is trade dress
and how does it apply to the fashion industry, aside from the fact that it has
the word “dress” in it? Trade dress protection is a lot like trademark
protection but instead of a word or a logo kind of indicating the source of a
product, it is a color or a unique design that indicates the source of the product.
The Tiffany’s box is a classic example of trade dress protection. Everybody
knows, when they see that little blue box with the little white bow, where the
contents of that box came from. Christian Louboutin actually had to fight a little bit for protection in its red sole that it uses on shoes. It essentially came down
to: is a red sole “source identifying” (quote-unquote) when it’s on a red shoe.
Not really it’s kind of not special it doesn’t make you think of a certain
brand if you were to see a red shoe with a red sole — but if it weren’t a red shoe and
you saw that red sole yeah a lot of people would think of Christian
Louboutin and he had to kind of present evidence of how long he’s been using it
different places and the media where it’s mentioned as his trademark thing
that he has that red sole so that’s another example of trade dress.
Birkin also has trade dress protection on the design of some of its bags.
The catch with trade dress is that it’s usually not immediate — in other words your
customers usually don’t automatically — you know as soon as you launch your
brand — associate your brand with a specific color or unique design like a
red-soled shoe. Usually when you apply for trade dress protection you have to
provide evidence that your your thing if it’s color or whatever it is
does function as a source-identifier kind of like how Louboutin presented
evidence of, you know, media mentions where the red sole has been
talked about as his trademark thing. So I hope that helps you understand a little
bit about trade dress protection and how it applies to the fashion industry and
I’ll see you next time

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