Cosmetics Brand Glossier Wins Trademark for Millennial Pink Pouch
Glossier, the up-and-coming cosmetics brand, has secured a trademark for its pink bubble wrap pouches that it sends products in. At first glance, it's an unremarkable product, but thanks to a pretty aggressive marketing campaign from Glossier, it became attached to the brand's identity.
According to The Fashion Law, the trademark is for specific shade of pink (likely Pantone 705C) “as applied to bags featuring lining of translucent circular air bubbles and a zipper closure.”
Basically, any Ziploc-type bubble wrap bag in a shade of pink similar to “Millennial Pink,” one of the hottest shades for products and apparel right now.
— Glossier (@glossier) March 24, 2018
Last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office turned down a request from Glossier. In a July ruling, USPTO attorney Michelle Dubois said that though there were not any conflicting trademarks existing, she did not feel the bag was appropriate for trademark as it is “a functional design for such packaging,” and functionality disqualifies a product for trademark.
Glossier combated this by submitting a new trademark drawing, which clarified that the “air bubbles and packaging itself are not claimed as features of the mark.” The trademark would supposedly only cover “the claimed color pink as applied to a very particular type and configuration of product packaging.”
But that wasn’t specific enough for Dubois or the USPTO either, with Dubois reportedly saying that the trademark application “consists of a nondistinctive configuration of packaging for the goods.” Bubble wrap is common, as is that shade of pink on packaging like that.
The pink pouch: perfect for your liquids, passport, or plane snacks. Carry on! 🛫 pic.twitter.com/yMqfP6Idvf
— Glossier (@glossier) May 25, 2018
Still resilient, Glossier came back to the bargaining table in January, claiming in a 252-page response that the pink pouch has distinctive brand recognition at this point as the company grows, and that customers would immediately relate a pink bubble wrap pouch to Glossier. Glossier also included the pouch in ads online and in high-traffic areas like the New York subway.
— Glossier (@glossier) April 5, 2018
“The color pink, as applied to bags featuring lining of translucent circular air bubbles and a zipper closure, has acquired source-indicating significance in the minds of the relevant customers,” Glossier’s response says, according to The Fashion Law. “When customers see the Pink Pouch, they immediately recognize it as emanating from Glossier.”
Finally, the USPTO agreed on Monday.
One thing that made this case so interesting is how much social media came into play. Glossier not only used its own social media posts as evidence of the product’s ubiquity and attachment to the Glossier brand, it used customers’ posts to back its claims up, which University of New Hampshire School of Law professor Alexandra J. Roberts told The Fashion Law “both reflects and contributes to the acquired distinctiveness.”
— Glossier (@glossier) May 6, 2019
By playing up the pouch's ties to Glossier’s brand identity on social media, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. If fans didn’t already associate the bag with the brand, they did now after Glossier’s social media and advertising campaign.
Glossier is one of the biggest names in cosmetics right now, and the pouch, as we've seen, is everywhere. With health and wellness products so popular in the promo world and Millennial Pink so popular everywhere, there's always a chance a customer asks for something similar. Now you can tell them why it's a no-go.