We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Find using OpenURL

Ambience as Property: Experience, Design, and the Legal Expansion of "Trade Dress"


Since the 1990s, extensive legal activity has developed around the concept of "trade dress," a subcategory of U.S. trademark law defined as the "total image and overall appearance of a product." This essay examines arguments and claims made for the application of trade dress to designed spaces, from the Taco Cabana fast food chain to Times Square billboards, and tracks an emerging legal definition of ambience or atmosphere as property. Placing this legal development within a broader shift toward experiential concerns in design and preservation practices, the article considers some of the historical questions raised in light of the expansion of legal purview into realms of consumer experience.

You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.


Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.