Last year I had a running discussion on color trademarks. I blogged about the issues surrounding the protection of a color as a non-traditional trademark, the impact of industries clustering around a particular color, and the concern that functionality may impede protection of a color trademark. Need a refresher? Check here, here, here, and here.
One of the more noticeable industry color clusters is that of fast food restaurants, which tend to use warm tones (red, yellow, and orange) for their trademarks. Leading the way has always been McDonald’s golden arches and bright red background. What created this industry cluster? I speculate that it could have been caused by newcomers who wanted to emulate McDonald’s color choice, or it might be attributable to the fact that warm tones generally stimulate the appetite and are therefore a logical, yet possibly functional, color choice.
However, over the past few months I have been alerted by multiple sources that McDonald’s may be phasing out this color combination in favor of a new look.
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