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If you are a brand owner seeking to obtain trademark registration for your advertising slogan, keep this in mind:

Slogans Help Businesses Communicate with their Customers

Strategically used creative, distinctive slogans help your business stand out and make your brand more desirable.   The best slogans become synonymous with the brand as a whole, reflecting the company’s products and values in one simple statement.  Effective slogans that qualify as trademarks are not easy to create, so when you come up with a good one it’s important to protect it, follow your trademark lawyer’s advice as to how to use it and enforce it against others who copy it.  The goal of a slogan should be to leave a key brand message in consumers’ minds so that, even if they don’t remember anything else from the advertisement, they remember the slogan.

Here are a few examples of effective slogans:  “The Quicker Picker Upper”  BOUNTY ;  “Just Do It” NIKE ; “Can You Hear Me Now” VERIZON.

Obtaining Trademark Registration for Advertising Slogans

A slogan is defined in the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure Section 1213.05(b)(i) as “a brief attention-getting phrase used in advertising or promotion” and “a catch phrase used to advertise a product.” Advertising slogans can be registered as trademarks in the United States but they can’t be descriptive or merely informational.  That is, slogans that are considered to be merely informational in nature, or to be common laudatory phrases or statements that would ordinarily be used in business or in the particular trade or industry, are not registrable.

For example, Volvo tried to register DRIVE SAFELY as a slogan but was refused registration because it was regarded to be a familiar safety admonition.  A supermarket tried to register WHY PAY MORE as a slogan but was refused registration because it was regarded to be a familiar phrase.

Advertising slogans need to identify and distinguish the source of its products and services.  The key is how you use the slogan.  If it is set apart in an attention-grabbing way, and used consistently, it is likely to be seen as trademark use and able to be registered as a trademark.

We recommend that you use a distinctive font or color to highlight the slogan and that the ™ trademark notice designation be next to it.  Of course, once it’s registered, you get to place the ®.  That is, if it’s a federal trademark registration.  Slogans for goods or products should be placed directly on product packaging and set apart in a distinctive font or color.  Whereas slogans for services should be used prominently in promotional materials.

Obtaining trademark registration for a slogan can be complicated for any inexperienced trademark applicant or even for a lawyer.  To do it right and have a good shot at obtaining that trademark registration, consult with a trademark attorney to make sure that your slogan isn’t already in use, that your slogan qualifies for trademark registration and that you are using your slogan in the precise way that it needs to be used.