March 20, 2014

Protect Your Packaging With A Federal Trademark Registration

by Guest Blogger

Research shows that packaging matters when it comes to building your brand. According to a study by MeadWestVaco Corporation, the packaging in which a product is sold (i.e., the "dressing" of a product) influences consumer behavior in stores:

64% of consumers have tried something new because the packaging caught their eye on the retail shelf;

41% of consumers have purchased a product again because of the packaging; and

36% of consumers have switched brands because of negative experiences with new packaging.

Surprisingly, product packaging also influences online shoppers:

29% of consumers report that packaging led them to research more information about the product;

22% of consumers report that packaging led them to write an online review that mentions the packaging;

20% of consumers report that packaging led them to "friend" or "become a fan" of a brand/company on social networking sites; and

18% of consumers report that packaging led them to post something about that product on social media.

Success breeds imitation, however, and successful product packaging often leads to knockoffs. Last November, I wrote a post on a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Jack Daniel's in Federal Court in Nashville over its federally registered square bottle design:


Jack Daniel's has accused the makers of Popcorn Sutton's Tennessee White Whiskey of infringing its federally registered trade dress.


The makers of Popcorn Sutton's Tennessee White Whiskey deny infringing Jack Daniel's trade dress. This whiskey feud is set for a jury trial on February 3, 2015. Given the subject matter, this case should generate cosnsiderable interest in the honky tonks on Lower Broadway. Perhaps it will inspire a country music song or two.

The Jack Daniel's case shows that federal trademark registration is a crucial element of any brand protection strategy. Not all product packaging, however, is registrable as a trademark. Next week, I will examine the factors that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office considers in determining whether or not to allow federal registration of a product's packaging.

The lawyers at Trademarkology provide online trademark registration services backed by the experience and service of one of the nation's oldest law firms. Click here to begin the process of protecting your brand name with a federally registered trademark.