Does Barbie own the color pink?

Does Barbie own the color pink?

Does Barbie own the color pink?

The latest Barbie movie, based on Mattel’s iconic doll, has been a massive hit; raking in $155 million in its opening weekend. With “pink fever” taking over, you might be tempted to cash in on the nostalgia wave by releasing limited edition “Barbie Pink” versions of your products. Before you take that step, beware of the potential for a lawsuit. Why? Well, Mattel owns pink! Duh! Don’t worry, we’re just kidding. Mostly.

In actuality, Mattel has a trademark on a certain shade of pink and can control the use of that color in specific marketing. Today I have five rules companies follow to successfully trademark particular color hues. They may help you avoid any pink landmines you may come across!


  1. Distinctive and Secondary Meaning:

To qualify for trademark protection, a color must be associated with a company’s goods or services and have a unique and recognizable identity. Choosing a visually distinctive color that’s not commonly used by competitors can help you avoid conflicts.


  1. Non-Functional Use:

Trademarks protect brand identifiers, not the functionality of products – that’s where patents come in. So, ensure your color serves as a recognizable identifier for your brand, not just a functional element.


  1. Unique Color Use:

Trademarked colors must be unique and specific, using a Pantone shade not typically associated with your industry. For instance, trying to trademark a common color like green for a lawn care brand would likely be a tough challenge.


  1. Substantial Use:

If you want to trademark a color, your company must have a significant history of using and promoting that color within your brand. Extensive usage of logos, packaging, websites, and advertising campaigns will strengthen your case.


  1. Avoiding Industry Confusion:

Trademarks should prevent confusion among consumers regarding the source of goods or services. If your color choice confuses your brand with your competitors, your trademark application might face difficulties.

To navigate the complex world of color trademarks successfully, it’s wise to keep these five rules in mind. Additionally, seeking advice from an intellectual property attorney can provide valuable guidance. And hey, if you want to avoid any branding hassles, let SinVista Creations craft a unique and custom branding strategy that sets you apart from the crowd!



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The Mad Designer

I am a Mad Designer; meaning I create abominations that come to life and take over your business. I am also the Owner and Lead creative director of SinVista Creations LLC, a graphic design and multi-media firm. My role in this company has ranged from Logo/web design to finance/accounting to marketing strategies. This experience has triggered my interest in the area of business leadership and how my design sense can offer an innovation approach to business.

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