Monday, September 04, 2006

Patenting a Slogan - a Wrong Pager

Patenting a slogan question is definitely a wrong-pager

A slogan cannot be protected by patenting. Patenting is for inventions, which a slogan is not.

But I have heard this question, more than once.

See Introduction to IP Law page on my website for a primer on the different IP areas, what they are and are not. But the heart of the slogan-protect question might be elsewhere.

If you have a slogan for your business or organization, you have a potential for trademark protection.

If you have a slogan but no business or organization, why do you have a slogan?

Why you have a slogan without a business or organization:
- you believe the slogan will sell products, such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc
- you believe the slogan will sell someone else's products, such as General Motors cars, or Coca Cola's softdrinks, or Hershey's chocolate bars, or . . .

If you are in the T-shirt-coffee-mug group, protect the slogan if possible via federal trademark registration and getting into the T-shirt-coffee-mug business (with caution).

If you are in the someone-else's-product group, there are problems. Established companies routinely require non-confidentiality agreements before they will look at an outside idea. That means no remuneration, even if they use it, unless you have patent protection. (Again, cannot patent a slogan.)

Will trademark protection on the slogan for T-shirts (federal registration is limited to the specific products on which you use the trademark) provide the safeguards needed for idea submission under non-confidentiality agreements? Might not.

See more about slogans at on my website.


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