Infographic | International Color Day

21 marzo, 2024
pantone's influence
colors

We all know Pantone’s wide variety of colors and how they are all meticulously cataloged in their Pantone Matching System (PMS), where each shade has a name, reference code, and printing formula.

The full collecion is heavily protected with copyrights. Although the natural color cannot be owned.

contracts

Pantone legally owns the names of the colors and sell them for a fee.

As what’s protected is the name and not the actual color, could people just try to match the colors themselves and not pay the fee?

pantone palette

Of course they can! However, it can become a huge mess. Imagine a brand that has multiple locations in the world, trying to print their logo, stating it is “sky blue” or “chicken yellow”. This specification may vary on different monitors and printers, while Pantone creates a universal point of reference for manufacturers worldwide, ensuring color consistency, making it easier for brands across the globe.

web design
color palette

McDonalds’ yellow is
Pantone 123C

mcdonalds

Starbucks green is
Pantone 3298C

starbucks

Penguin Book’s orange
is Pantone 1505

penguin random house

When a color becomes so related to a brand itself, they can trademark it if they justify that it represents their brand, but it can only be trademarked within its relevant industry.

An example of a color legal battle between companies within the same industry over a color (Purple Pantone 2685C) was between Cadburry and Nestlé.

Purple Pantone
2685C
cadbury
In 2005 Cadbury trademarked the color and as both companies used very similar packaging colors, during 10 years Nestlé fought the trademark with hearings and appeals until
legal contract

October 2013, Nestlé won and Cadbury lost the trademark rights.

Our Expert

Maria Alejandra Pava

María A. Pava

Partner | Trademarks
Director

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