Check out this unusual wine bottle label:
How do you protect it as trade dress? Here’s a good start:
Will that alone work? Not necessarily. As I always tell clients, a trademark registration is not a self-executing document: on its own, it does not function to prevent infringement, and enforcement of rights requires litigation, most of the time. Similarly, merely saying that this label is “exclusive trade dress” won’t prevent copycats. But that statement shows that Coppola is serious about protecting its rights, and that copycats will likely be challenged. (They’ve also registered the label design as a trademark, for belt-and-suspenders protection.) Here, because there’s nothing purely functional about this label design, I think the label may be protectable trade dress. And the recent Maker’s Mark decision from the Sixth Circuit appears to support that claim.
But I didn’t buy the wine, because 14.5% alcohol will have me face-down in my dinner after about a glass, distinctive label or not!