How patents for colors and compositions work
20 Nov 2017

How patents for colors and compositions work

The new Spanish patent law has paved the way for protecting compositions or colors, including chemical products. The law, which came into force on April 1st 2017, is Law 24/2015, on Patents. In this post, we explain what it is and what you can do.

Protecting colors and compositions

The major new feature of the patent law is the possibility of registering compositions that may not meet one of the requirements for patentability, the inventive step. Now, a few issues should be noted. It is not a question of patenting the color itself, since a color cannot be considered for protection, as it does not offer a technical solution to a technical problem. Nevertheless, a paint that is obtained by mixing others, or from a chemical composition, can be patented, as long as it does not rely on pharmaceutical substances and compounds or biological material. To be able to be registered, it must be described completely and clearly in the invention, it must be new and have an inventive step, and, lastly, it must have an industrial application. 

According to the Office of Registration and Patents, you gain a right over a mark for the whole of it, without the symbols TM (Trademark) or R (Registered Trademark) being mandatory.  The former shows that it is a trademark, and the latter that it has been registered. For example, there will be no problem for a company to use the Cola-Cao red and yellow in its image, but there will be if it copies the typeface or the design as well as the colors. If the whole of it is plagiarized, that can lead to legal action. 

So, with the new law, if a color composition represents a brand, then it can be protected. You can register what is known as factory marks or trademarks. They are cataloged as a trademark color and can be used exclusively by the company that registered it in its own sector. For example, Tiffany’s turquoise is protected in the jewelry sector, but not in any other. 


Reasons for protecting a color

As a company that specializes in processing and managing patents all over the world,SHIP recommends that protection be given to colors and composition, especially if we are talking about brands with international power and a great potential for market penetration. You will undoubtedly know of “Klein blue”, one of the major colors that have been registered, and “Kodak yellow”, “Louboutin sole red”, and “Coca-Cola red”. These are colors that have been linked with their respective brands, and so are protected. 

In the specific case of “Klein blue”, Yves Klein decided to register it in the Enveloppe Soleau, which is similar to the Intellectual Property Register, but in France protects a technique. It was not a patent in the true sense of the word. The color is known as International Klein Blue (IKB), and what was registered was the formula for a paint. 


There are many reasons for patenting your creations. Companies like SHIP specialize in advising you and guiding you through the entire process. 










Want to Talk?

Send us your details and we will contact you to advise or assist you with anything you need.