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How to Trademark a Slogan

June 7, 2022

“Just Do It.” “We Have the Meats.” “I’m Lovin’ It.”

A slogan is an original phrase that a company uses to identify itself. It can set your business apart from the competition and bring more value to your marketing efforts. 

As a business owner, it’s wise to trademark your slogan to establish ownership and gain protection. Let’s walk through some of the benefits of a trademark and the steps to register your phrase.

Benefits of Registering a Trademark

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers trademarks nationwide protection, preventing other businesses from claiming local rights to use your phrase. It’s a valuable asset that uniquely identifies your business and helps customers find you.

A registered trademark is legal with nationwide validity. You can file a lawsuit in federal court if someone misuses or infringes on your trademark. Your opposition will have to try to prove the invalidity of your mark if they try to copy your brand.

Rules for Trademark Registration of a Phrase

There are different federal rules regarding trademark registration for a phrase. Not every phrase can be trademarked, not everyone can apply for a trademark, and simply registering for a trademark does not ensure complete protection. Here are the rules to note before registering:

  • You can only apply to trademark a phrase used for commercial purposes. The phrase must be used or intended to be used to sell your goods or services.
  • A trademarked phrase only receives protection against use by businesses in the same industry or niche.
  • The phrase must identify the company that is the source of goods or services. Rejected applications contain phrases that only describe the goods or services rather than the company that provides them. For example, “Apple” is used to describe a tech company, but the term would likely be rejected for a company that sells apples.
  • The phrase cannot be the same as an already registered phrase or fall under a pending trademark registration category.
  • The phrase cannot include terms commonly used in business or the applicant’s business type. These terms could include “clothing,” “construction,” or “technology,” depending on the applicant’s specific industry. If you include this type of wording, you may need to disclaim that it’s common to your industry.
  • The phrase cannot be part of everyday speech. The phrases “by the way” or “on the other hand” would most likely be rejected.
  • The phrase should be distinctive, not generic or descriptive.

Steps to Trademarking a Phrase

1. Do Your Homework

You should always do a little research and make sure you aren’t violating any existing marks. Checking that your phrase is unique to your brand can expedite your trademark approval process and save you from infringing on someone else’s trademark. It also prevents you from wasting money applying to register for a trademark already in use.

To complete your research, check the Trademark Electronic Search System (TEES) available on the USPTO’s official website or use the Trademark Engine’s trademark search tool.

2. Fill Out the Trademark Registration Form

Once you complete your trademark search, it’s time to fill out the trademark application. You can go through the USPTO Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) or use Trademark Engine’s Trademark Registration service.

If you choose the TEAS, you need to select from one of the two options, namely, TEAS Plus and TEAS Standard. You can apply for the one that best suits your requirements. Once you have selected the application type, you can provide the details and make your payment.

Alternatively, you can use Trademark Engine and let the experts handle the specifics. You’ll provide your information, and they’ll handle choosing the right form for you.

You’ll receive an official confirmation by email after you submit your form. All you have to do now is wait for approval, which takes about six months after you apply. An attorney will review your application to ensure that it meets all legal requirements for trademark registration.

3. Monitor the Application Progress

Check your application progress on the Trademark Status & Document Retrieval (TSDR) every three to four months. You can use your reference number to track the application status of your trademark and make sure you are following critical deadlines.

4. Complete the Approval Process

After registering, USPTO officials will scan your phrase through a database of existing phrases to check for any similar marks. If they come across an identical trademark, they will reject your application without a refund. If they find nothing similar and your application meets all the legal requirements, they will approve your trademark for publication in the USPTO weekly magazine, the “Official Gazette.”

Anyone who notices an infringement can file an opposition within 30 days. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) reviews the opposition. If there is no opposition or an opposing party is unsuccessful in its claim, your trademark registration is complete. You will receive a certificate of registration to finish the process.

Ready to Register Your Phrase as a Trademark?

Experts at Trademark Engine are here to help. With advanced tools and software, we can assist with all steps in the process, including:

  • Trademark registration
  • Comprehensive trademark search
  • Trademark monitoring
  • Free trademark search
  • Copyright registration
  • Office action response
  • Statement of use
  • Filing an extension

Contact us today to get started! 

Trademark Engine is not a law firm and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. General information about the law is not the same as advice about the application of the law in a particular factual or legal situation. Individual facts and circumstances as well as legal principles including but not limited to the ones referenced on this website can affect the outcome of any given situation.

Trademark Engine cannot and does not guarantee that an application will be approved by the USPTO, that a mark will be protected from infringement under common US trademark law, or that any ensuing litigation or dispute will lead to a favorable outcome. If you want or have an interest in obtaining legal advice with respect to a specific situation or set of circumstances, you should consult with the lawyer of your choice.

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