A great catchphrase can go a long way in helping you establish your brand in the marketplace. For a business, a catchphrase can be in the form of a slogan. A slogan typically becomes an integral part of the business’ “brand” and contributes to its fame and success. But, can you trademark it?
The answer is yes, you can trademark your business’ slogan. (Think, for example, of Nike’s “Just do it” slogan.)
However, you can only do this for purposes of protecting its use in connection with your products or services. Remember, the primary role of a trademark is to identify the source of a product or a service to which it is linked. A trademark protects your exclusive right to benefit from the use of a catchphrase for the purposes of marketing your products and services.
Here are the steps you need to follow during the trademark registration process for your business slogan:
Perform a trademark search for your intended catchphrase
Before registering your trademark, you need to start out by first ensuring that it is original – that it does not infringe on any existing trademark. You can take advantage of the trademark research tool provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to establish the originality of your intended slogan.
Establish how you will use the catchphrase in your business
To register a trademark with USPTO, the slogan must be actively in use in business. You can also file an “intent to use” application with the provision that you must begin using the catchphrase for business within 12 months. Your catchphrase will be canceled if it remains inactive for this time frame.
Apply to trademark your catchphrase
You can submit your trademark application online to the USPTO. The application form comes with quite a number of “trap doors” so it’s important that you are careful when submitting your application. USPTO may refuse your application if you do not complete it correctly.
Your catchphrase — just like any other intellectual property that helps identify your products to potential customers and promote your business — is important enough to protect. Find out more about what it takes to trademark it.