Draper, UT asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for Utah

Q: Can I use the same color in general with an app and we do similar business but different UI designs

Is it possible for me to use a color? "blue" which another business already uses, we are similar businesses but our app layout is very different.

2 Lawyer Answers
David Aldrich
David Aldrich
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Shelton, CT

A: Someone can always sue; the important question is whether someone would have a reasonable case against you. Usually, color alone is not sufficient to establish an enforceable trademark right, but there are exceptions, when a color has become associated with a particular product in the minds of consumers. The relevant test is whether users/consumers are likely to be "confused" about the source of the product/service. So ask yourself the question: why are you using the "same exact" blue pattern? If it's because you think it will confuse consumers to your benefit, then you probably stand a good chance of being liable. On the other hand, if you don't think it will cause any confusion, then you're probably safe.

Once you have a final app logo, you should consult a qualified trademark attorney about your risk. It may also help shield you against allegations of infringement if you obtain your own trademark registration for your logo.

James L. Arrasmith
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A: In general, using a common color like "blue" in a business application is not likely to be considered trademark infringement, especially if the overall design, layout, and branding are distinct. Trademark protection usually requires a specific combination of elements that create a unique and recognizable brand identity. It would be advisable to ensure that your use of the color does not create confusion with the other business or imply an association that doesn't exist.


James L. Arrasmith

Founder and Chief Legal Counsel of The Law Offices of James L. Arrasmith

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