Trademark Law || Burberry’s Verry Merry

Burberry, the British luxury fashion brand, is not for everyone. Not because of the particular style Burberry is known for, in fact, Burberry could make anyone look like royalty, but Burberry is relatively expensive. While it is in the upper echelon of fashion brands, the average person cannot usually afford a $2,000 trench coat or $500 scarf. A consumer of Burberry typically purchases products that have the iconic tan, black, white, and red horizontal and vertical lines and bands, pictured in the article’s featured image. This specific tartan pattern usually marks the high quality, fashionable, and timeless Burberry brand; therefore, someone wearing this pattern is associated with the idea that that person is stylish. They pay top dollar for that item. What if I told you that you could get the Burberry tan, black, white, and red tartan without spending your whole paycheck or without shopping at Burberry? You, like some customers, would likely be all over that sale. However, this is a big problem that Burberry has struggled with for years. Many Chinese companies have sold and profited off apparel with a similar tartan pattern, looking significantly like the pattern that Burberry has created and sold since its opening in 1856. Burberry sued the Chinese companies for infringement, claiming that the companies using their iconic design would lead to consumers believing that the product is associated with Burberry. Burberry, just this year, prevailed in this lawsuit. The court reasoned that Burberry’s black, white, red, and tan tartan had created a globally recognized mark used and associated with Burberry. The court also focused on the fact that this pattern has a reputation dating back over a hundred years, identifies that item as a product of Burberry. So Burberry now has a registered trademark, registration for “a repeating plaid pattern consisting of a tan background light tan vertical and horizontal lines, black vertical and horizontal lines, white squares, and red vertical and horizontal lines.”

Why Register my Trademark?

 

As a business owner, you don’t have to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); however, there are many advantages and reasons why you should:

 

  1. Once the mark is registered, others will be on notice that you, as the trademark holder, have priority against any similar marks nationwide.
  2. The amount of damages (financial or otherwise) that a business owner can receive is much more significant if the mark is registered.
  3. In comparison to unregistered trademarks, registered trademarks have a broader range of protection.
  4. When other businesses or attorneys are researching trademarks, your trademark will be active and present in the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System signifying that your mark is already in use and associated with your business.

 

How Do I Register My Trademark?

 

I am sure that Burberry has an experienced legal team. The big question is, why didn’t someone think to register that tartan pattern? Not only would they have had the advantages above, but they would have avoided large legal and court fees to fight this suit. Don’t make the same mistake as Burberry. Hire Rachel Brenke and her team at Eden Law. Our firm has had many years of experience in the registration of trademarks. Besides registration, Rachel can provide your business, as a licensed attorney, trademark clearance searches, help enforce and maintain your trademark rights, and represent you at the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal’s Board. While we want your brand to be as successful as Burberry, Eden Law doesn’t want you to make their same trademark mistake. Let us protect your brand through proper word and design mark!

 

Written by Lindsay M. Thomas

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