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Can you trademark a catchphrase?

Why trademark your catchphrase?

A person or a company uses trademarks to stand out from others and increase their profits gained from a brand, phrase, logo, or design. Using a catchphrase for your brand or product helps you in achieving your business goals in the long term. A catchphrase is nothing but a word or a slogan that can attract consumers in the market or the public. Some of the examples of existing catchphrases are as follows:

  • “Just Do It” by Nike.
  • “You cannot be serious” by the Tennis legend John McEnroe.
  • “Think Different” by Apple.
  • “This Sick Beat” has been Taylor Swift’s trademark from her famous song’s lyrics.

A catchphrase can be a tagline that you want customers to recognize so that they know about your product or brand just by seeing it. A catchphrase can be used as a free advertisement tool by you when your product or brand is launched and sold in the market. In the United States, you can register your catchphrase as a trademark.  There are many benefits of registering your catchphrase as a trademark, such as:

  • You can prevent another from copying your company’s catchphrase;
  • You will have full authority over your tagline, slogan or words that will be a landmark of your product or brand;
  • You can gain statutory damages & attorney’s fees if someone infringes on your catchphrase;
  • It helps in increasing your product’s or brand’s market reach;
  • It helps you in building your brand or product consistently in the marketplace.

What considerations should you take before you trademark your catchphrase?

Before filing an application before the authoritative agency to grant your catchphrase as a registered trademark, you must take into consideration the following tips:-

  • Ensure that your catchphrase is very much catchy attractive to the public.
  • Visit the trademark database websites such as Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Marcaria to know whether your catchphrase is already registered or not.
  • Ensure that your catchphrase is for the sole purpose of commercial use.
  • Ensure that you will use the catchphrase consistently and not for a minute or entertainment.
  • Visit the trademark registration authority’s website and search for any rules or forms to fill up before applying for your trademark registration.
  • Go to an Attorney or an Advertisement Agency to make your registration of the catchphrase unique and away from any legal complications.

Registering a trademark for your catchphrase?

Registering a catchphrase as a trademark is issued by the USPTO. Here are some tips to consider when filing an application for the registration of the catchphrase as a trademark for your product or brand:

  • Read the USPTO rules in the Trademark Manual (TMEP) and ensure that your catchphrase can be registered as a trademark.
  • Conduct a full comprehensive search prior to filing.
  • Go to the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) and fill in all the details asked in the application form.
  • Choose the correct visual representation of your catchphrase. Usually, it is standard character.
  • Pay the applicable fees for registering your catchphrase as a trademark while applying.
  • Respond to any Office Actions issued by the examining Attorney at any stage of the process.

To know where your trademark application currently stands, simply visit the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) website to track the progress of your application.

What will happen if you do not register a trademark your catchphrase?

If you fail to trademark your catchphrase, the following things may happen to your catchphrase intended for your brand or product:-

  • You cannot prevent others from using your catchphrases.
  • You will not have any authority over your catchphrases.
  • You cannot start a lawsuit against the infringer.
  • You cannot obtain statutory damages or attorney’s fees from the infringer.

Conclusion to Catchphrase Trademarks

In the U.S, you can trademark your catchphrase. But a proper search and opinion should be conducted to reduce the chances of a refusal by the trademark examiner and opposition by another trademark owner.  If you are successful, a trademarked catchphrase can be a very powerful branding identity and advertisement tool.

Let Karana IP get you from Application ™ to Registration ®.

If you have a new brand to protect, Karana IP has the ability to help you choose, protect, and enforce trademarks under state and federal law. Contact Karana IP Law today if you have questions about the selection, registration, protection, or enforcement of your mark.

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