Dress yourself to be noticed
How you present your product to the market must be protected
ONE possible way of ensuring that your product does not become invisible in the crowd is to develop and protect novel ways in which to present it to your target market.
“Trade dress” or “get-up” is a term used to refer to the way in which a product is presented to the public.
The “trade dress” of a product encompasses the characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging, including colour combinations, trademarks, graphics and other design elements, which together signify the source of the product to consumers.
Trade dress inevitably begins with a seller’s packaging, as it is after all the seller’s packaging which occupies precious shelf space on crowded retail shelves. Clearly, it is on these crowded shelves that packaging must capture the attention of an attention-deficient consumer. For consumers who have not purchased a new product previously, it is also the packaging of the new product that must act as ambassador for the product during this brief introduction, and must woo the potential consumer to result in the first purchase.
After spending time and investment in designing and developing spectacular trade dress and packaging, it is also important to protect the various types of intellectual property (IP) embodied in your trade dress and packaging or get-up.
Firstly, there are the trademarks or brands. Trademarks can be used on your packaging in many different forms. Your brand name (think Apple, Nike, Versace etc) will usually appear on all your packaging, and it is often by means of the trademark that a consumer identifies a product. You could also choose to make use of a unique logo or sign (such as Nike’s Swoosh device) to distinguish your product from those of competitors.
A combination of your brand name and device which you use as a logo on your packaging can also be registered as a trademark (think Burger King’s logo).
If a specific colour or colour combination is unique to your get-up, consider registering it too as a trademark. Do you know that in many countries