Earlier this month, Paisley Park enterprises: the estate of the late musician Prince, has reportedly filed a claim to trademark a specific shade of the colour purple.
‘The Purple One’ was one of Prince’s most common nicknames as it was unsurprisingly his favorite colour. Following the success of his top hit Purple Rain in 1984, from his purple clothing to his purple guitar, the colour was commonly used to define his image and legacy and has arguably become a part of his identity.
The trademark application states the application consists of the colour purple alone. However in particular, Prince’s estate is trying to secure exclusive rights to shades similar to the Love Symbol 2, which was created in memory of the late singer who passed in 2016.
Troy Carter, an entertainment adviser to Prince’s estate said: “The colour purple was synonymous with who Prince was and will always be”.
Claiming ownership of a colour, although rare, is possible as seen in Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent America Inc. where the courts determined that the red soles had “the requisite ‘distinctiveness’ to merit protection”.
This was also seen in the long running purple themed dispute between chocolate giants Cadbury and Darrell Lea in which Cadbury’s eventually secured a trademark.
If the late singers estate were to obtain trademark protection for the shade without permission, film and music producers may be banned from its use in a way that leads the audience to associate them with Prince.
It’ll be interesting to see how the result of this application turns out for the late stars estate.
By Sena Tokel a third year LLB student from Solent University