Functionality Doctrine Law and Legal Definition
Functionality doctrine provides that the functional features of a trademark, or those features having primarily a utilitarian purpose, are not granted protection. Where product elements such as shape, color or design are necessary to improve the sale ability of a product, or because the product requires the trademarked element to function optimally, then that feature is not protected by trademark law. If a feature gives a producer a competitive advantage not related to its function as a brand identifier, then it cannot be trademarked. The doctrine was introduced because product markets would not be truly competitive if newcomers could not make product with a feature that consumers demand.