I hope this is the correct community for my question (I am just a humble data scientist, not a designer).

I am building a powerpoint presentatin that should contain a lot of plots, each consisting of 2-4 curves on a white background. I am thinking about using some colors of the Paris undergroud map for my plots because they are bright, work well together and look fine on white background. Unfortunately, I can't find any information whether these colors -- by this I mean the specific set of color codes -- are protected by some kind of copyright.

  • Are you going to sell the presentation or commercialise it in any way?
    – Luciano
    Feb 4 '20 at 12:26
  • @Luciano: I won't sell it, but the presentation is made for internal documentation/communication in the company that employs me. So if, in this situation, I use something copyright protected it means that my company is using it, too! Feb 5 '20 at 16:36
  • For internal communication... that is not the same as using it in a product that will be commercialised. Scott's answer is spot on.
    – Luciano
    Feb 6 '20 at 9:13

It is not possible to copyright a group of colors as far as I'm aware.

It's possible to trademark colors as part of "trade dress". However, trademarks are not the same as copyrights. And even if trademarked, you are free to use any color theme outside the industry which any trademark applies. So, unless you are building or advertising a subway/underground, or some other French transportation-based service/product, you wouldn't be violating any trademarks either.

I'd use them if I wanted to with a clear conscience.

  • But I would expect the pantone palette to be protected.
    – TaW
    Feb 1 '20 at 13:04
  • 2
    Specific mixture formula for inks possibly, but not a palette of colors. How a palette is presented can be copyrighted. A color, in itself, is not a "uniquely creative" thing. That is to say a specific set of hue, saturation, and brightness values can't be copyrighted. Only how colors are arranged can be copyrighted. For example, ColorLovers.com can copyright how they show a palette of colors, but not the actual colors themselves.
    – Scott
    Feb 1 '20 at 13:15

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