Protectable trade dress under the Lanham Act can include a wide range of product design and packaging features: the color and shape of pill capsules; the look of a greeting card line; the layout of magazine covers and briefcases; commercial kiosk designs; sales techniques; the distinctive decor of a restaurant; and the colorful, tropical depictions on liquor bottles. Separate from a trademark, trade dress involves the total image of a product and the overall impression created that allows consumers to distinguish among competing producers.

In recent years, a growing debate has emerged over whether the overall “look and feel” of a website can be protected. To be sure, online content, videos, and other media are copyrightable, but the law remains unsettled when it comes to using trademark law to protect a site’s distinctive interface and design elements.