Smart Strategies For High-Stakes Situations

Is décor theft an issue of intellectual property?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | intellectual property law

In today’s competitive and often oversaturated market, attracting and keeping customers is not only crucial, but it is also often one of the trickiest parts of success.

Having a distinct look and feel to your physical business is one way to start setting your brand apart from the rest. But can you keep other companies from stealing your interior designs?

What is trade dress?

The Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure discusses trade dress and what makes it worth protection. But first of all, what is trade dress?

This is a subset of overall trademark law which allows any business owner to claim ownership of everything giving their service or product its look or feel. This can include things like store arrangement, unique packaging or even a specific color.

Can you protect your trade dress?

It is possible to apply for trademark protection in the event that your decor is distinctive and nonfunctional. But what does this mean?

In essence, your trade dress cannot simply serve as a generic example of decor. It must remain unique to your business. It also cannot serve any primary purpose for your business, service, or the products you sell.

A good example could be the packaging of a product. Ordinary packaging would likely remain ineligible for protection. However, packaging that comes in a unique or specific shape would count as something that you could get protection for.

These are the ways you can keep your small, unique touches safe from competitors looking to steal something from you to get a leg up.