It’s pretty easy to apply for and to obtain a copyright for things that are borne of an artistic nature. For example, films, music, fiction, poetry, scripts, sculpture, etc, are all relatively easy to copyright.
You can also obtain a copyright for various things that don’t appear to file a trademark be of an artistic nature. For example, you can also easily copyright blueprints, advertising copy, software programs, and games, to name a few.
Can You Trademark a Slogan?
It’s also possible to file to trademark a slogan. However, the slogan has to be used to identify and indicate the source of goods and/or services.
Since McDonald’s® was able to trademark “I’m Lovin’It®” and Nike® was able to trademark “Just Do It®” don’t you think that it should be pretty easy for you to be able to trademark a slogan?
It would seem so, but it may not be as easy as you might think.
The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) – the part of the government that decides whether or not to grant you a trademark – has said “Slogan or phrases used on items such as t-shirts…have been refused registration as ornamentation that purchasers will perceive as conveying a message rather than indicating source of the goods.”
So, if you’re talking about trademarking an informational slogan or a slogan that is used to convey some kind of advertising information, you could apply to trademark a slogan but you will most likely find that it won’t be eligible for trademark registration.
Trademarking a slogan is a kind of a gray and tricky area. If the slogan you want to trademark is only displayed on the goods and isn’t identified as the source then it is likely that the USPTO will refuse your registration. So if you’re planning to do something like this then you should consider first seeking professional advice.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has also stipulated that “Use of a…slogan to convey advertising or promotional information…is not service mark use.”
So if your slogan serves as advertising copy and/or if it describes your service, then it’s improbable that it will be eligible for trademark registration as well. Thus, if you have a slogan that you would like to use for services, because this is also a gray area, this would be another instance where you may want to seek professional advice before attempting to trademark the slogan.