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Published January 18, 2024

Brad Brown

In the vast wilderness where the art of hunting and fishing is more than a pastime but a way of life, the camouflage pattern on your gear isn’t just about blending in—it’s a statement of your identity. For many, it’s surprising to learn that camouflage isn’t just a functional tool and a symbol of brand recognition in the marketplace. This revelation comes with the understanding that camo patterns have moved beyond their practical purpose to become trademarks representing the brands we trust and rely on.


The concept of trademarking camouflage is counterintuitive. After all, camo is inherently functional, designed to conceal and protect. Traditionally, purely available items don’t qualify for trademark protection. However, the landscape of camo patterns is as diverse as the environments they blend with. This diversity is precisely what makes them eligible for trademarking. With hundreds of patterns on the market, each serving the same primary function, a specific pattern can represent a brand’s unique source and identity.


Consider the United States Navy’s attempt to file a trademark registration for their distinctive camo pattern. This move was more than a legal maneuver; it was an acknowledgment of their pattern’s unique identity. Similarly, when the trademark trial and appeals board found camo trademarkable, it wasn’t just a legal decision; it was a recognition of the individuality and brand distinction that these patterns provide.


For those of us deeply embedded in the hunting and fishing community, our gear is a testament to our commitment and passion. Take, for instance, Badlands® camo, a personal favorite among many for long mountain hunts in the western United States. Beyond its superior warranty, Badlands offers a unique camo pattern that, while functional, stands out among the plethora of options. Similarly, brands like Sitka® and FirstLite® offer top-notch gear with distinctive patterns. These aren’t just random designs; they’re trademarks, symbols of reliability and quality that we, outdoorsmen, have come to recognize and trust.


The ability to identify a brand by its camo pattern speaks volumes about the pattern’s role beyond mere functionality. It’s about identity, quality, and trust. When you choose a piece of gear, you’re not just selecting a tool for better concealment; you’re aligning with a brand representing your values and approach to the outdoor lifestyle.


So, to my fellow hunters and anglers, remember that the camo you wear is more than just a pattern. It’s a trademark representing your commitment to quality and tradition. It symbolizes the brand you trust to accompany you through the thickets and streams. As you blend into the natural world, your gear does more than help you disappear—it enables you to belong. Don’t overlook the power of these patterns; they are as much a part of your outdoor identity as the game you pursue or the fish you catch. They are the unsung heroes of our outdoor adventures, silently branding our experiences with their distinctive designs.

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