Can a slogan be registered as a trade mark?

June 25, 2016

Trade Marks

A slogan is for life, not just for Christmas

“Because you’re worth it”. Does that sentence bring anything to mind? To many, it is probably synonymous with L’Oreal. How about “I’m lovin’ it”? Probably makes you think of McDonalds, right? Slogans are used extensively by businesses as marketing tools and can be a powerful way of creating brand recognition and loyalty. However, they are often overlooked by businesses when they protect their IP portfolio. Considering Briffa is one of the most active law firms in terms of trade mark registrations, we see a surprisingly low number of clients asking us to protect slogans.

Slogans can be massively important to your business and if you use one then you really should think about protecting it with a trade mark.

Can every slogan be registered as a trade mark?

Unfortunately not. Just as with other types of trade mark, you need to ensure that it can easily distinguish your goods or services from those of your competitors. In other words, your slogan needs to do something more than merely describe your goods or services.

So, if you make and sell shoes, chances are you’re not going to be able to protect “Fancy footwear for fellas” (although quite why you would want to is another matter). Your slogan needs to have its own distinctive character and things which can help to increase distinctiveness are:

  • slogans which have a number of meanings;
  • slogans which are a play-on words;
  • slogans which contain unusual or incorrect grammar; or
  • slogans which include made up words.

So, if you are using a slogan in your business, contact Briffa and see how we can help with extending your valuable registered trade mark portfolio.

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