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Q.What does package design have to do with advertising?

A.One form of advertising that has been given special protection under the "Trade Dress" laws is package design. While it is true that the copyright laws do not protect functional aspects of a product's packaging, trade dress does protect the design elements of a particular packaging design as long as they are not an otherwise functional element. This protected design element is commonly referred to as the product's "look and feel". The trade dress doctrine has been extended to apply not only to the "look and feel" of a product's packaging, but also to such things as a fast-food restaurant's architectural features (McDonalds Golden Arches), a distinctive décor or theme, and even a jewelry manufacturer's earring backers. Because the scope of trade dress protection is unclear, many companies have begun to register their businesses' trade dress.

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