Wallingford, CT asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark

Q: Can a brand trademark generic/common patterns or can they be freely used without worry?

Category would be fashion, apparel, and bags. How can some of these simple shapes and designs be trademarked when they are common and generic? Are they safe to use?

https://trademarks.justia.com/871/09/n-87109216.html

https://trademarks.justia.com/879/13/n-87913784.html

https://trademarks.justia.com/862/29/n-86229902.html

https://trademarks.justia.com/873/01/n-87301710.html

https://trademarks.justia.com/774/01/n-77401778.html

https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/helly-hansen-suing-off-white/

2 Lawyer Answers
Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
Answered
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ

A: Common and generic are not in reference to the trademark itself, but in the relationship of the trademark with the product or service.

Like apple for fruits. Oracle for card reading.

If used outside their expected space, they may be protectable.

Consult with an attorney.

Marcos

www.legalbizglobal.com

480 324 6378

Barbara Berschler agrees with this answer

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler
Answered
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD

A: It is not clear from your question, but fabric designs can be protected by copyright as well as the "look" of the particular purse, for example if the designer uses certain patterns of leather to decorate the purse. Likewise if the shape of an object is distinctive, it can come to acquire trademark characteristics. For example, think of the Coke a Cola bottle. The company does not have to put its logo on such a shape for the bottle to be identified as related to their brand of soda.

Others can design bags, etc., but depending on the detail used on the item, unless careful, such may come off as trading off of someone else's brand for the product.

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