I was pleased to see an article about clients John and Donna Taddeo in a recent issue of Entrepreneur magazine: When Second Really is the Best. The article discusses their entry into the high end tequila market, and their success in doing so.
Most exciting for me was that the article prominenty featured a photograph of their unique tequila bottles (it may be hard to see in the photo, but the glas tiki figuring is a part of the bottle on the inside; for more pictures see link to website at the bottom of post):
The bottle shape is a registerer trademark! A product shape or configuration – to the extent it is not purely functional – can be a registered and protected trademark. The Coca-Cola bottle may be the best known example.
For the tequila bottle, the registration (U.S. Registration No. 3108259) contains the following description:
Description of Mark: The mark consists of the configuration of a bottle used as a container for tequila and containing a totem with a stylized face on it on the inside of the bottle.
The unque shape of the bottle – the tiki inside of it – provides to function to serving or storing tequila, and can distinguish Voodoo Tiki Tequila brand from competitors. Many liquors today – Grey Goose, Crown Royal, Grand Marnier, Jaegermeister – come in distinctive bottles, and this has been a growing part of their marketing strategies for years.
For more about Voodoo Tiki Tequila, visit their website here.
Lesson: Even your packaging can be an intregal part of your brand and may be a protectable trademark asset.