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Q: Are slogans trademarked? Where to look? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Are slogans trademarked? Where to look?
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: limegreen-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 11 Oct 2006 12:02 PDT
Expires: 10 Nov 2006 11:02 PST
Question ID: 772718
I want to have manufactured several hundred lapel pins with a six word
slogan. (I'd rather not tell you what the slogan is.) The slogan
mentions no brand name.

Are slogans 'owned' by companies? I've heard the slogan I want to
manufacture used many times by a New York Stock Exchange listed
company.  For example, remember "things go better with Coke"?
Obviously the brand name is owned and protected by law, but are
non-branded slogans staked out too, so to speak?

If slogans without brand names are trademarked (or similar), what U.S.
government web site would help me look to see if mine is claimed by
Subject: Re: Are slogans trademarked? Where to look?
Answered By: denco-ga on 11 Oct 2006 13:55 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Howdy limegreen-ga,

Good to answer another question for you.

Although slogans can't be copyrighted, they sometimes can be trademarked, or in
the case of a service, servicemarked.  The U.S. Copyright Office website covers
part of this.  There are exceptions to the copyright restriction as well.

"What Does Copyright Protect?"

"Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some
cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. Contact the U.S. Patent &
Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information. However, copyright
protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient
authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a

One resource you can use is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
website, and their search utility.

If we use the above search engine, we find that, to no real surprise, the "King
of Beers" slogan is trademarked by Anheuser-Busch, and "We Try Harder" belongs
to Avis.

Even if the slogan you have in mind does not appear on a USPTO search, that
does not mean you would be free and clear to use that it, as sometimes the
databse might not reflect recently filed claims, or the slogan might be
considered the intellectual property of a company.

Here are some pages which point out why a company might or might not have a
trade mark on a slogan, but would still probably litigate if someone used the
slogan without permission.

European Space Agency - "Can slogans qualify for trademark protection?"

USPTO - "In re Phoenix Intangibles Holding Company"

Bottom line is that you need to tread very carefully when doing anything that
might be considered trade mark or intellectual property infringement.

If you need any clarification, please feel free to ask.

Search strategy:  Bookmarks and personal knowledge of the U.S. Copyright and
the USPTO websites.

U.S. Copyright Office


Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher

Clarification of Answer by denco-ga on 13 Oct 2006 00:50 PDT
An additional tip if you use the USPTO search facility, limegreen-ga.

You can use quotes within your searches to specify a phrase, so if your six
word slogan is "Better trades than those other guys," then you might want to
try a search such as "Better trades" on the USPTO site.

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher
limegreen-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Excellent in every way. Thank you!

Subject: Re: Are slogans trademarked? Where to look?
From: denco-ga on 13 Oct 2006 00:46 PDT
Much thanks for the kind comment and 5 star rating, limegreen-ga.

Always a pleasure, and you are most welcome!

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher

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