A trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable insignia, word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination. It helps to distinguish the goods or services of one enterprise from that of others. Besides a name or logo, a slogan enables companies to acquire value and communicate brand identity. Trademark registration for a catchphrase is necessary to protect your enterprise’s identity against infringement. Registering with the USPTO helps safeguard your trademark slogan preventing any third party from using the phrase to sell their offerings.
The trademark slogan should be informative, clever, and concise. Using the right slogan can add significant value to your business. Also referred to as tagline, it gives a halo to the company. To qualify as protectable under USPTO, these slogans should be distinctive features or have developed enough secondary meaning to represent a product or service appropriately. Secondary meaning implies that the distinction which the mark acquires enables the consumers to associate the mark with a source. The Patent Office subjects the slogans to similar scrutiny as non-tagline trademarks to determine if it is distinctive.
Hence, the trademark slogan should be catchy and memorable. A powerful slogan can emphasize the uniqueness of your product or service. Choosing the right slogan which is registrable under USPTO can be daunting. You can outsource it to a Trademark Slogan Search Service to perform an extensive search and select the right slogan that appropriately represents your brand. Here are few best practices to optimize your trademark slogan search operation and choose the slogan of your choice.
Choose The Right Slogan
The trademark slogan should not be descriptive. Slogans which describe the product or service you provide are not likely to be registered. It should not define the characteristics or qualities of your business. Before you initiate the search process, you need to confirm that the slogan you have picked up is eligible for a trademark. A generic phrase or a slogan that falsely associates itself with a famous person, institution, or symbol is unlikely to make a cut. Brainstorming is crucial to choose the right slogan. You should avoid using ambiguous statements along with slogans that express values in general.
Moreover, slogans aimed at customer service and applies to a wide range of classes are not registrable. The slogan should be distinctive and creative and needs to have a secondary meaning. Secondary meaning allows the mark to acquire some distinction among consumers. It helps the slogan to transcend its literal meaning and develop an association with the source. Inherently distinctive or creative slogans generally consist of made-up words that are creative or unexpected in the context of their usage. These words provide connotative qualities to the slogan, which helps to distinguish the product or service. Hence, business owners need to prove that the slogan for protection has obtained a distinctive character before the trademark application is filed. It will enable the slogan to pass the distinctiveness test or act as a source identifier.
Conduct The Search
You need to carry out an extensive trademark slogan search to determine that the intended slogan is already applied for as a trademark slogan (registry search) or if it is already in use (marketplace search). Effective search practices help minimize the risk of adopting a slogan that potentially conflicts with an existing one. You can conduct the trademark phrase search online through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). You can also perform a search at a Patent and Trademark Resource Center. Since the common-law trademarks are applicable only in a limited geographic area, hence you can search for the slogans for places where you intend to conduct your business. It helps avoid the risk of legal action being taken against you for using the same or a deceptively similar slogan.
Check For Alternative Words
While searching, do not simply rely on the exact words in your slogan. Even if your slogan is not in the database, it may be potentially similar to slogans already in use. Such slogans can infringe on the owner’s rights. To ensure that the slogan is not in conflict with an available phrase, you can take help from a trademark attorney. After you file a registration application with USPTO, they will inform you if you can use the slogan.
Potential Of The Trademark Slogan
If you are planning to file a trademark application for a slogan, ensure that you will continue to use it in the future. Nonuse of slogans for a particular period can lead to trademark abandonment and cancellation. The burden of proving abandonment of proving abandonment will initially lie with the party filing the claim.
These are some of the critical factors you need to keep in mind while conducting a trademark slogan search. With this, your slogan will acquire appropriate distinctiveness. It will enable you to select the right slogan of your choice that will help you to represent your brand appropriately.