Everything is awesome at Lego today. The General Court of the European Union has upheld Lego’s trademark on the design of the little people that come with their brick sets. The trademark was being challenged by Lego competitor Best-Lock (the real news here is that there are Lego competitors). The court found that the holes in the feet and legs of the figures did not have a technical function and were therefore proper subject matter for a trademark.
Trade dress (for instance, the design of a package or a Lego person) can also be a trademark here in ‘Merica. Just like in Europe, trade dress cannot serve as a trademark if it is “functional,” that is, if a feature of the trade dress is essential to the use or purpose of the article or if it affects the cost or quality of the article.