A Trademark to Dye For


Royal Purple is tickled pink now that it has a corner – in the lubes market, at least – on the companys namesake color.

Synthetic lubricant supplier Royal Purple Ltd. announced March 5 that it has received a U.S. trademark giving it exclusive rights to package lubricants in purple containers. Company officials said they were very pleased to obtain the trademark, describing it as an effective means to keep their products well-recognized.

This national trademark assures that Royal Purples lubricants will forever have a distinctive appearance, whether theyre on the shelf in a retail store or on the floor at an industrial plant, Marketing Director T. Mark McFann said. Its a huge plus when someone doesnt even have to see the label to know its a Royal Purple product – the color alone is enough to identify the supplier.

The trademark covers any shade of purple and applies to containers of automotive and industrial lubes. McFann said the company knows of two other companies that currently package lubricants in purple containers, but added that they have their main businesses in other markets and sell lubes only as ancillary products.

Our thinking right now is to consider those companies grandfathered and not take them to task over this trademark, McFann said. Were not looking to pick a fight with anyone. But if someone else tries to come into the market with something new, we would definitely take action.

Based in Porter, Texas, Royal Purple makes a wide range of synthetic lubricants, most formulated with polyalphaolefin base stocks. Approximately 75 percent of its business is in the industrial sector, McFann said, but automotive engine oils are the fastest-growing part of its business and should overtake industrial lube sales within a few years.

Royal Purple was established in 1986 after founder John Williams developed a high-performance oil to protect compressor bearings. That product happened to contain an ingredient that turned the oil purple, McFann said. He liked the color so much that he named the company after it, and Royal Purple now puts purple dye in virtually all of its products. The company is also seeking a trademark for the color purple for lubricants.

McFann said the company has striven over the years to make its brand recognized for quality and that the purple color of its packaging, because of its association with things regal, has played a key role.

Management has been working since 1997 to obtain the trademark. As part of its application, the company had to submit more than 1,000 letters from customers stating that they identified the color purple with the company Royal Purple. The company also was required to submit examples of labeling and advertisements to demonstrate that it used the color purple consistently in the marketing and promotion of its products.

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