How to Trademark Catchphrases and Phrases

Like a brand name or logo, even phrases can be trademarked. After deciding a catchphrase you want to trademark, you can fill a trademark application for registering the same. Before we go into the process, let’s first understand the benefits and significance of trademarking catchphrases.

The dictionary meaning for catchphrase is: A popular phrase or sentence, especially one that’s associated with a famous entity or personality. Remember “Hasta la Vista, Baby!” from the unforgettable Terminator movie? It’s a classic example of a catchphrase, and what more; the trademark for the phrase was registered in 2007. But why trademark a phrase?

Trademarking phrases can also be the base for lucrative business and commercial deals. If you are a 90s kid, you would have definitely heard the legendary phrase – Let’s get ready to rumble. Interestingly, Michael Buffer, the boxing and wrestling announcer who coined the phrase, never realise the phrase would get so famous when he began using it in the 80s. In 1992, Buffer finally went on to trademark the phrase, and he’s made over a whopping 400 million dollars by licensing the rights of the phrase, used in advertisements, video games, and movies.

How to Trademark Phrases

How to find trademark phrases

Before you use a phrase in your own original works or as a catchphrase with your products or services, it’s important to check for conflicting marks through a trademark search. There are chances of facing an infringement lawsuit, and further, if the mark already exists, you can’t apply for a trademark registration for the same.

The significance of a trademark registration

Not many people understand what it means to trademark a phrase. Trademark registration will not stop others from using the phrase; it only restricts the use of the phrase by other third parties to sell products and services. However, a registration only goes so far, the burden of protecting the mark falls on the owner -  one way is to check for infringement and sue for damages that have caused loss of business.

Trademark Catachphrases and phrases

Procedure of Registration

Trademark registration can be done online by filling the application form and attaching the necessary documents. The registration can be done for several classes of goods and services in a single application. However, the fees would vary based on the number of classes.

Once the Trademark Officer accepts the application and orders the mark to be advertised, you can start using the (™) symbol against your phrase. When the registration is completed, meaning, there is no objection against the mark, the registrar issues the registration certificate and you can use the ( ® ) symbol next to your phrase.

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