Clients often ask me how they can protect jewelry designs that they create. While the most common protection for jewelry designs is through copyright registration, they can also get trade dress protection. Trade dress protection is a type of trademark law that extends to configuration of the product itself. Trade dress is defined as a product’s total image or overall appearance and may include features such as size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, graphics or even certain sales techniques. One of the requirements of trade dress protection is that it must be non-functional and have distinctive features.
A good example of trade dress protection is Cartier’s Love Bracelet. Cartier first obtained trade dress protection for the Love Bracelet in 1977 and it was renewed as recently as 2007. It is important to remember that trade dress and trademark protection can, in theory, last indefinitely as long as the registrations are renewed every 10 years. Cartier’s registration for the Love Bracelet protects “the overall configuration of a bracelet having a series of simulated screws which encircle the goods and two real screws, which appear at the points on the bracelet where it may be opened” in International Class 14 for jewelry.
Cartier owns other registrations for parts of the Love Bracelet, like for the screw heads seen on the Love Bracelet described as “a configuration of a simulated head of a screw that is embedded in the goods”; or “a series of simulated heads of screws embedded around the outside perimeter”, all in International Class 14 for jewelry. Cartier also holds trademark registrations for the words “Love” and “Love Bracelet” in International Class 14, 18, and 25, jewelry, leatherware, and apparel, respectively.
With its treasure trove of trade dress and trademark registrations, Cartier is very vigilant about its rights and is quick to enforce them. The law firm I previously worked at, represented many clients who were sued by Cartier for trademark and trade dress infringement of its Love Bracelets, many of them settling the case much before proceeding to trial.
Other examples of trade dress protection include restaurant interiors, menus, product packaging, bottle shapes (Coca Cola bottles), pill capsules, toys, cars, golf courses, and gas stations.
At Nupur Shah Law, we help business owners protect their intellectual property law rights. We help with reviewing your work and determining the best possible protection available to you.