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Question. I have a coffee related product idea and I'm thinking about modifying the plastic to match Starbuck's green (There's a specific Pantone color for this).

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Question. I have a coffee related product idea and I’m thinking about modifying the plastic to match Starbuck’s green (There’s a specific Pantone color for this). Is the use of that color green reserved only for Starbucks? Could I get into legal trouble over the usage. The Pantone color is widely available on the internet.

Similar situation for example would be a “McDonalds” red french fry holder.

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Trademark attorney here. Colors are difficult to trademark, but certainly aren’t impossible to get registered (Tiffany blue comes to mind. So does the pink of Pink Panther insulation). Not sure off the top of my head about Starbucks, but frankly I don’t think it matters. Why create headaches for yourself if you don’t have to. Private labeling is difficult enough without having the cloud of a large company making your life difficult by forcing a product change or even worse — taking you to court. Sure; maybe you win. But the time, money, and effort spent in securing the victory could have been better spent on other opportunities.

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