May 14, 2019

The Colour Purple: and what it meant to Prince

The estate of the musician Prince, the interests of which are represented by Paisley Park Enterprises ("PPE"), has been fighting a monumental, lengthy, and (we presume) incredibly costly battle to register as a trade mark a shade or variant of the colour purple in the US.

The battle began in 2017 when Pantone, the New Jersey based colour-creating/naming company, created a colour that it called "Love Symbol #2".  By October 2018 PPE had applied to register the colour by then technically (though probably not popularly) known as Love Symbol #2. The application included evidence that in 1993 the artist had adopted the name "Love Symbol #2" (or, in more common use, "The Artist formerly known as Prince").

The application was rejected by the US Patent & Trademark Office ("USPTO") on the grounds that the colour alone would not indicate the source of goods or services as being "Prince's goods or services" to members of the general public. PPE believed that the USPTO had failed to properly consider how strong Prince's association with the colour was, and appealed.

A recent appeal submission includes a 430-page document that PPE says documents & evidences Prince's association with the particular shade of purple known as Love Symbol #2, including bountiful photographic evidence. Given Cadbury's defeat for a similar registration in the UK, it is sure to be watching how PPE's appeal progresses with great interest.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or


in: EU/International, Trade Marks

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