Can you trademark your product’s packaging?

It is a common misconception that only words and logos can be trademarked. It is also possible  for a brand to lay claim to certain colours, sounds and  three-dimensional shapes. Although  three-dimensional trademarks for  packaging are less common than word or figurative marks, they can be just as significant when it comes to protecting your brand from infringement.

In order to successfully submit an application for a three-dimensional trademark, you would need to prove that your packaging is distinct in your marketplace. Therefore, it would need to have an unusual or unique shape and be able stand on it’s own as a representation of your brand. Jean Paul Gaultier has a trademark for his distinctive Jean Paul Gaultier Classique perfume bottles in the shape of a female torso.  Due to its unique design, consumers readily associate this packaging with his brand.

However, the packaging shape that you choose to trademark must not be related to the nature of the goods themselves, it must not give your company a technical monopoly in the marketplace and it should not significantly increase the value of the goods to be packaged.

Since companies that apply for a three-dimensional mark  are usually asked to prove that their consumers associate their packaging with their brand alone, they generally apply for the trademark once they have already launched their brand and have given themselves time to become more distinctive within the marketplace.

Furthermore, if your company has successfully registered a trademark for your packaging in the past it does not guarantee that this will be achieved a second time. Despite their successful  registration of their contoured glass bottle in 1980, when Coca-Cola applied for a 3D European trademark for its classic plastic bottles in 2014, their application was rejected because the court believed that the design was not distinct in the marketplace. Therefore, their plastic bottle design remains unprotected in the marketplace.

Three-dimensional trademarks are the most difficult type of mark to successfully register as the criteria are so specific, however they do provide a significant level of protection for your brand once they have been acquired and contribute to your brand value in the marketplace.

For advice and more information on searching, acquiring, registering and enforcing Trademarks please visit our website,

Our unique database of trademarks for sale or license could save you time and help protect your brand.