These lime green building sites caught my eye and jogged my trademark memory. First, the future home of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, at beam signing, on May 4, 2018:
Second, the expansion of the Metro Transit headquarters near downtown Minneapolis, on June 12:
Of course, the obviously common element of both building sites, besides my iPhone, is the same lime green sheathing, both also branded with the USG and SECUROCK word trademarks.
Then poof, they’re gone, after being covered by some black-colored sheathing, on August 2, 2018:
What’s my point? Actually, I have a few that immediately come to mind, so bear with me.
First, do you suppose United States Gypsum Company views the lime green color of its gypsum panels to be a trademark? Apparently there are no look-for statements on the product itself:
In looking for look-for ads that might draw attention to this particular shade of green as a brand, Green Means Go (scroll down after linking), is the closest I’ve found.
Let’s just say, USG has been far more effective in owning the color red as a band or stripe applied to packaging for plaster products, and the supporting look-for-like TOP RED word mark.
Still, it’s difficult to tell what USG thinks from the general legend used in its online brochures:
“The trademarks USG, FIRECODE, SECUROCK, IT’S YOUR WORLD. BUILD IT., the USG logo, the design elements and colors, and related marks are trademarks of USG Corporation or its affiliates.”
It’s even harder to tell, despite the “colors” mentioned in the legend above, after searching the USPTO, since USG allowed its Supplemental Registration — for what I’m calling the “lime green sheathing” — to expire without first obtaining, or at least, filing for Principal Registration.
The Supplemental Registration described the mark as “the color yellow green (Pantone 375) as applied to the goods.” Namely, “non-metal water-resistant boards and panels for construction.”
Why let it go?
I’m sure the color green is considered difficult to protect for sustainable building materials, but this color mark was narrowed down to the particular Pantone shade. Perhaps the shade changed?
Typically, a Supplemental Registration is considered valuable to a brand owner, while it works to build the evidence necessary to establish acquired distinctiveness for Principal Registration.
In addition, the Supplemental Registration for Pantone 375 was some indication that the USPTO did not view that shade of green as being functional even for sustainable building materials.
We’ll keep watching to see if Principal Registration is pursued.
In the meantime, let us know if you discover any better look-for advertising for USG’s SECUROCK gypsum panel sheathing. Loyal readers know how important look-for ads are for trademark colors.
Last, the now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t green gypsum panels remind me of the lavender color registration I convinced the USPTO to issue for spray in place insulation in 1994, oh the memories!