Trademarks work differently than copyrights. A trademark is Nice I Survived The Corona Virus Pending Trademark Shirt protection for consumers to prevent product confusion. Nike doesn’t own the phrase Just Do It but the use of that phrase in relation to athletic products and shoes is limited. It prevents me from making a shoe and using that phrase on the box to confuse you into buying my shoes thinking they’re Nike shoes. So while Wiffle owns YELLOW they only own it with regard to their products and similar ones. I can’t make a bat and use the term YELLOW. But I can make a baking company and use YELLOW since Wiffle can’t argue that it would confuse consumers.
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Even then, being able to trademark color is clearly an overextension of Nice I Survived The Corona Virus Pending Trademark Shirt the principle of trademarks. Like, how many colors can we differentiate with our eyes? Let’s say there are 20 reasonably distinct colors that you could make foam bats. So at any given time, only 20 companies in the world are allowed to sell colored foam bats? That might sound like a lot, but it’s still deeply opposed to the principles of free-market competition. It’s a lot more common than you might think. Tiffany has famously won in court regarding using their specific shade of blue on jewelry boxes. Beats by Dre pursue the protection of red earbud cables.
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