Can Colours become registered as Trade Marks?

Maersk has recently been granted exclusivity to their special light blue colour. To obtain trade mark protection for a colour is not an easy task. In Denmark there are only two companies. Grundfos being the first. 

In other countries there are certain colours that have been granted for trademarks. UPS has a certain brown colour and Starbucks a certain green, Victorinox has a certain red colour.  To mention but a few.

The application from Maersk was 30 pages long with not only documentation but also pictures. It is highly unusual to grant a colour trademark. It’s one thing to obtain a logo registered as a figurative mark, a word mark or even a sound. Colour is very different. That has something to do with the fact that the colour must be distinctive. 

There was as part of the application results from a survey that showed that 84% or the respondents in their target market knew that the colour was connected to Maersk.

Grundfos has the exclusive right to produce pumps in a certain red colour. They have been produced since 1959, where as the very first Maersk ship had a chimney that was painted in the light blue colour and that was back in 1886. 

History does play a big role in colour mark granting, at least in Danish Trade Mark legislation.

The answer to the question is that yes colours can be registered as trade marks, however it does take an awful lot of work to obtain them. My advice is find something else to register.

Céleste RR