Types of Trademarks FAQ

What is trade dress?

In addition to a label, logo, or other identifying symbol, a product may come to be known by its distinctive packaging -- for example, the blue and yellow packaging of the Advil pain reliever box. Similarly, a service may become known by its distinctive decor or shape -- for example, the yellow arches that symbolize McDonald's franchises.

Collectively, these types of identifying features are commonly termed "trade dress." Because trade dress often serves the same function as a trademark or service mark -- the identification of goods and services in the marketplace -- trade dress can be protected under the federal trademark laws and, in some cases, registered as a trademark or service mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

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