Contact us now:
(913) 735-7707

Trademarking Slogans or Taglines

Slogans are everywhere around us and an important part of a company’s brand.  Definitionally, they are short, memorable phrases used in advertising, often to convey a message about the particular product or service offered by the source companies.  Let’s take a look at some world-famous slogans, the companies that own them, and at least one accompanying USPTO registration number.

Slogan Owner USPTO Registration Number
Just do it Nike, Inc. 1875307
A diamond is forever De Beers UK Limited Liability Company 3376133
The breakfast of champions General Mills IP Holdings II, LLC 0342440
You’re in good hands with Allstate Allstate Insurance Company Corporation 0671339
Nothing runs like a Deere Deere & Company Corporation 1004709
It’s finger lickin’ good KFC Corporation 3348337
I’m lovin’ it McDonald’s Corporation 2978887
Expect more.  Pay less. Target Brands, Inc. 2256194
What can brown do for you? United Parcel Service of America, Inc. 2649286
We have the meats Arby’s IP Holder Trust 4709402
There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard. Mastercard International Incorporated 2297299
The ultimate driving machine Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft 1240182
What’s in your wallet? Capital One Financial Corporation 2685283
America runs on Dunkin’ DD IP Holder LLC 3399798
Think outside the bun Taco Bell Corp. 3020149
Save money.  Live better. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 3505969
Eat mor chikin CFA Properties, Inc. 2010233
Let’s go places Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha TA Toyota Motor Corporation 4398761
Snap!  Crackle!  Pop! Kellog North America Company Corporation 3222184

How many of these do you know?  You probably know at least some of them and might even know all of them.  These slogans are truly world class.  By looking at the left column, one likely knows what is going to appear in the center column, or at least the commonly-known, abbreviated company name.  Each is a short, memorable phrase used in advertising, conveying a message about the particular product or service offered by the source company or potentially the company as a whole.

In addition to being potentially excellent advertising tools, slogans have legal significance.  A slogan functions as a trademark, an important component of intellectual property, if the slogan identifies and distinguishes the goods or services and indicates its source, or is capable of doing so.  Think back to the phrases above.  Do they call to mind the underlying companies that own them?  They likely do.  The phrases place into the minds of the consuming public perhaps not only a specific product or service but also (and more importantly) the producer or provider.

Coming up with a good slogan entails the services of a competent marketing or advertising professional as well as a competent legal professional.  Responsible companies run trademark and service mark searches each time they create a draft slogan for advertising purposes in order to confirm no other company claims trademark or service mark rights in that phrase. 

Taglines are a little different from slogans, but it is rare from a legal perspective to tease apart this distinction.  According to some sources, taglines have a greater amount of permanence and possess more corporate identity than slogans, lasting for the duration as opposed to a slogan, which is temporary and tied to a specific effort.  A company may only have one tagline at any given snapshot in time—perhaps appearing in conjunction with the company logo—but it may have several slogans running simultaneously that are specific to distinct advertising campaigns.  The famous phrases of the companies above, or at least some of them, might be more accurately classified as taglines than slogans.

After a slogan or tagline is searched and cleared, filing a USPTO trademark application to attempt to obtain a federal trademark or service mark registration for that specific slogan or tagline is often a logical next step. 

This law firm has experience with slogans and taglines in connection with trademark law.  If you would like to make an appointment with Kincaid Law KC, LLC ® regarding a slogan or tagline, please feel free to conveniently schedule with us here.