Distinctive packaging can drive sales, but it can also lead to knockoffs. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it kills value in the branding world. How you protect your packaging can have a tremendous impact on the return you will obtain from your business.
The best way to protect your packaging is with a trademark. A trademark is usually a brand name, slogan, or logo, but it can also be packaging that serves as a source identifier for particular products or services.
Packaging that functions as a trademark is entitled to a limited scope of protection. To maximize this protection, you need a federal trademark registration. Federal trademark registration provides important legal benefits such as a presumption of nationwide validity and the right to use the ® symbol.
Before pursuing federal trademark protection, you should consider whether your packaging is registrable. Registration will be refused if the packaging is found to be functional and/or nondistinctive.