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Non-traditional trademarks: Lighting displays

Posted by ipelton on: July 7th, 2011

I love non-traditional trademarks and have spoken and written about them many times.  My favorites include the marching ducks of the Peabody Hotel and “goats on a roof” at a restaurant.

I recently came across a new category of non-traditional trademarks: lighting displays. Can the way something such as a building is lit serve to indicate the source of the services or products offered? Sure.

The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation has registered the lighting display below in connection with ‘Promoting public awareness of the importance of the early detection of breast cancer’

  • – The mark consists of a white capitol building illuminated in different shades of pimk and white lighting, with green trees in the foreground and black shadowing all around

Six Continents Hotels, Inc. (Holiday Inn?)owns registered trademarks for the following lighting designs in connection with hotel services (click images for USPTO records):

  •   – The mark consists of green lighting formed by four light fixtures placed in a symmetrical fashion near the entryway of the building. One set of two green lights is evenly placed on columns to the right and left of the entryway and direct the green lighting downward thereby casting a green shadow down the length of the column; while the other set of two green lights is evenly placed on the building wall above the entryway and direct the green lighting upwards, casting a green shadow up the length of the wall and roof overhang. The matter shown by the dotted lines is not a part of the mark and serves only to show the position of the mark
  • – The mark consists of blue lighting formed by four light fixtures placed in a symmetrical fashion near the entryway of the building. One set of two blue lights are evenly placed on columns to the right and left of the entryway and direct the blue lighting downward thereby casting a blue shadow down the length of the column; while the other set of two blue lights are evenly placed on the building wall above the entryway and direct the blue lighting upwards, casting a blue shadow up the length of the wall and roof overhang. The matter shown by the dotted lines is not a part of the mark and serves only to show the position of the mark

What about lighting within a store? Presumably it could serve as a trademark as well, provided the lighting display was unique within the industry and not merely functional. While not exactly for lighting, Washington Mutual banks owns a USPTO registration for the color plumb on a variety of surfaces including the lighting fixtures. Lighting fixture designs and locations are frequently included in the descriptions for trademark registrations covering store displays and configurations, like this one from Huddle House.

Are there other lighting displays which function as a trademark? Are trademark lawyers and owners missing an opportunity here to register and protect more lighting as trademarks?

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  1. […] color (see tomorrow’s posting). Previously, I have written about lighting display trademarks (Non-traditional trademarks: Lighting displays), Boise State’s blue turf field trademark, as well as Marching ducks, goats on a roof, sound […]