Among the oldest and most historic trademarked colors is Tiffany Blue, which is affiliated with iconic jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. The founder of the company, Charles Lewis Tiffany, first used the distinctive robin’s-egg blue shade in 1845—possibly because turquoise jewelry was commonly associated with weddings in the 19th century.
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John Deere Yellow and Green
John Deere, the famous lawn care and agricultural equipment manufacturer, owns its signature yellow-and-green paint combination. While competitors could probably get away with painting their tractors green, John Deere could prevent them from pairing it with bright yellow.
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DeWalt Yellow and Black
Are you a fan of DeWalt power tools? Then you'll be pleased to know that its parent company, Black & Decker, won a court settlement in 2015 to the tune of $54 million when it sued competitor Rockwell Tools for appropriating its trademark yellow-and-black color scheme.
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Can you imagine Fiskars scissors with red handles? That early color concept was discarded in favor of their now-famous pumpkin orange, thanks to a happy accident involving leftover plastic. The orange color is now trademarked in the United States and Canada as well as in the company's country of origin, Finland.
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Wikimedia Commons via Evan-amos
Post-it Canary Yellow
Post-it's iconic canary yellow was also somewhat of a fluke. According to 3M company lore, the lab that was testing the Post-it adhesive borrowed paper from the lab next store, which happened to have some yellow scrap paper. The color (pun intended) stuck. Now this distinctive shade of yellow helps people in over 150 countries stay organized.
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A popular manufacturer of home and office supplies, 3M has ownership over the color purple—at least for some specific uses. Sure, people can still paint their home with the protected color, but anyone who uses it on a competing product would be infringing on 3M’s trademark protection.
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UPS has trademarked its signature Pullman brown, which was selected to represent the brand in 1916—in part because it channeled high-class Pullman railroad cars. The neutral color also hid grime on UPS delivery vehicles, thus keeping the fleet looking polished and professional.
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One of the most contentious color trademark cases is also the most delicious. Cadbury has attempted to seal the rights to its blazing purple label, but court cases have gone back and forth, demonstrating just how difficult it is to claim ownership of a color.
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