Dress your­self to be no­ticed

How you present your prod­uct to the mar­ket must be pro­tected

Business Day - Business Law and Tax Review - - BUSINESS LAW & TAX REVIEW - DEAN MUS­CAT & DEAN BELLINGAN

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.