Can you own a colour?
The answer is almost certainly not. However, the law on colour use in branding and marketing is complex and there have been several high profile cases of companies slugging it out over the use of colour. I have previously posted about the dispute between Google and Microsoft – http://colourware.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/four-colour-primaries/.
There are two other high profile cases I know of. One is the objection by Orange (a British Telecoms company) to the use of the colour orange by Easy Jet – http://tinyurl.com/y8la766. The other is the dispute between chocolate manufacturers over the use of the colour purple in chocolate wrappers – http://tinyurl.com/y9cgyum.
However, in a paper published in the open access colour journal – Colour: Design and Creativity – Paul Green-Armytage argues that the key to many of these disputes about colour ownership lies in the definitions of colour. See http://www.colour-journal.org/2009/4/6/index.htm to read Paul’s full article.