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Can I Trade Mark a Slogan?

A slogan can capture the entire identity of a brand in one memorable phrase. From Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ to McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin’ It’, catchy slogans can immediately allow someone to identify a brand without them seeing a logo or hearing anything else in relation to that brand.

As some of these slogans are everyday phrases, such as Apple’s ‘Think Different’, it begs the question: Can you trade mark a Slogan?

Firstly, What is a Slogan?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a slogan is “a word or phrase that is easy to remember, used for example by a political party or in advertising to attract people’s attention or to suggest an idea quickly.” Basically, it’s predominantly how marketers grab the attention of potential clients or customers through strategic and catchy words or phrases.

Are Slogans Important?

In short: Yes, slogans are important. When it comes to marketing a product or a company, a slogan can be the thing that takes the brand to that next level in terms of exposure. If the slogan is relevant and catchy, it can go viral in a matter of minutes, giving the company popularity that can take you from a boutique fashion stall to the next Louis Vuitton. For example, while the fashion brand Versace started in Milan in 1978, it wasn’t until actress Elizabeth Hurley wore ‘that dress’ in 1994 that the brand gained international attention and ran with the slogan ‘that dress’. If you heard the phrase ‘that dress’ back then, you immediately knew the brand that was being referred to.

Can You Trade Mark a Slogan?

Essentially, yes. You can trade mark a slogan given that hasn’t already been registered with IP Australia. But even if you do submit an application, there is no guarantee that it will go through. Reasons being are you must adhere to guidelines set by IP Australia, which are:

  • The slogan must meet the criteria set out in the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) (the Act).
  • It is not misleading or false. For example, saying that a vitamin supplement will cure an ailment you might be suffering from.
  • It is not offensive or derogatory.
  • It is merely laudatory or complimentary.
  • It isn’t descriptive or commonly used.

Can I Use a Slogan for Marketing Purposes if it Hasn’t Been Trade Marked?

While technically you can if the slogan hasn’t been registered by another party, it is always best to make sure it’s registered and trade marked before you use the slogan in any marketing material. This not only ensures that you are covered should any issues arise from outside parties, but it also provides you with legal protection if your campaign goes viral and other organisations attempt to use your slogan.

How Can I Trade Mark a Slogan?

The best way to ensure your organisation’s intellectual property is protected is to approach a registered Trade Mark Attorney, who can ensure your IP gets the best protection possible. The team at Kings Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys have decades of experience successfully creating and submitting trade mark applications and can help you from start to finish. Contact us today to get the process started.

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