Inspiration for a Non-Traditional Trademark?

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What an honor it was to be part of the 2013 Dieline Package Design conference at HOW Design Live, last week in San Francisco, thanks again for the opportunity Andrew!

The Editor’s Choice winner for the 2013 Dieline Package Design Awards is Method’s visually stunning Ocean Plastic Dish and Hand soap container, shown to the left, and discussed this way:

“The more ocean plastic we’re able to reuse means less demand for virgin materials and a cleaner planet. We may never be able to return the ocean to its pristine state, but we can raise awareness of the importance of using the plastic that’s already here. The ocean plastic in this packaging was hand-collected on the beaches of Hawaii by method employees and local Hawaiian volunteer groups. The unique gray color is a departure from method’s usual bright pops of color.”

“The gray color is what resulted naturally after the plastic chopping, washing and pelletizing process and our creative direction was inspired by its organic feel. The inspiration for the ridges along the side of the bottle came from a sea urchin.”

Happily, no D-Words or F-Words here to explain the unique look, shape, and features of this product container, so there is serious potential for inherently distinctive non-traditional trademark protection, although I could find no pending applications filed by Method, just this one (with no ridges).

I love the choice and use of the word “inspiration” to explain the designed ridges on the bottle — in my opinion, it is very nicely suggestive (not descriptive) of the ocean plastic material making up the container, by adopting a creative interpretation of an important and protective feature of sea urchins in the package design.

Although the color of the container is probably not subject to trademark protection because it is apparently the natural result of the manufacturing process, the look, feel, and shape of the container have great potential, since those features haven’t been verbally saddled with the “grip-able” or “ergonomic“ functional baggage that others unfortunately have stumbled in using to explain their product or container features.

Last, it was a distinct pleasure to present again with guest blogger Aaron Keller of Capsule on the topic of The Intersection of Design and the Law. As always, it was a lot of fun, so if you’d like a private showing of that discussion, please let us know, we’ll consider taking it on the road again, for the right crowd.

Topics:  Marketing, Method Inc., Product Packaging, Trademarks

Published In: Communications & Media Updates, Intellectual Property Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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