Your intellectual property can be extremely valuable. Some of it can directly increase your bottom line, while other kinds can separate you from your competitors and generate goodwill. But not all intellectual property is as obvious as trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Your trade dress, for example, might warrant protection and be just as valuable to your company.
The basics of trade dress
In its simplest terms, trade dress is merely the design or shape of a package that distinguish it from other goods. But trade dress can be more complicated than that. The design and shape of the product itself might be protected under trade dress, and so, too, could the overall look of a restaurant such as a business. However, in order for trade dress to be protectable, it has to have a source identifying function, just like any other trademark.
There’s another requirement that must be met before trade dress can be protected. It must be inherently distinctive or it must have acquired a secondary meaning. Inherit distinctiveness in the trade dress context means that it must be unusual and memorable, and it should be conceptually separable from the product itself. If the trade dress sought to be protected is a functional aspect that is key for the product’s use, then it won’t be protectable. Secondary meaning in the trade dress context means that the public associates the design or shape in question with the source of the product.
Know the ins and outs of your intellectual property
Intellectual property can be key to your business’s success, but only if you know how to obtain the protection that you need and enforce your rights as an intellectual property holder. If you’d like to learn more about how you can expand your intellectual property portfolio and take action against those who have infringed on your property, then consider reaching out to a firm that is experienced in this area of the law.