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Intellectual Property Trade Secrets Trademarks

Protecting Product Packaging and Product Configuration

Registering and protecting product designs is challenging. Preliminarily, trade dress cannot be registered or protected as a trademark if it is functional — if it is “essential to the use or purpose of the article or it affects the cost or quality of the article.”

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On Dec. 16, 2016, Diageo North America, Inc. (Diageo) sued Sazerac Company, Inc., and Sazerac Brands, LLC (collectively Sazerac) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, claiming, among other things, that Sazerac had committed willful trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices. Diageo North America, Inc. v. Sazerac Company, Inc., No. 16 CV 09747 (S.D.N.Y.).

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