Trademarking a Slogan: Benefits, Limitations and Other Aspects

While contemplating trademark registration in the UAE, most small businesses often think about brand names and logos. However, slogans also play an equally strong role in defining the brand identity of your goods or services. International brands are the biggest proponents of slogan trademarks and they have succeeded in enhancing their brand identity through slogans. Nike’s JUST DO IT, McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin It’ are some of the slogan trademarks that are easily identified by consumers across the world.

A slogan can be a memorable motto, a phrase or a tagline used by companies for advertising or promoting their brands. Slogans are commonly used along with main brand identifiers such as a brand name to help companies to build a strong brand identity. Companies intending to register a slogan as a trademark must understand certain key aspects, which will be discussed in the following blog:

Standard Requirements for Registration

A catchy slogan or phrase can add value to the brand and increase your customer base. However, you must protect that value through trademark registration in the UAE. Otherwise, the marketing efforts and resources involved in its creation will go to waste as a result of infringement by competitors. However, the UAE trademark office will register your trademark only if the slogan meets the following standard conditions:

  1. The proposed slogan or phrase should be available for registration in the chosen trademark class. An identical or similar slogan should not be already registered in the chosen class for the same group of goods or services.
  2. The slogan should not be too descriptive of the goods or services, or their characteristics, feature or quality
  3. The words used in the phrase should be distinctive

Slogan should Be Easily Memorable

Slogans were considered difficult to register due to their very nature of not being distinctive enough to function as a trademark. However, this perception was changed when international carmaker Audi succeeded in trademarking its slogan ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ slogan (‘advantage through technology’) at the EUIPO in 2010. Audi’s case proved that a slogan can have a distinctive character if it is seen as more than an advertising tagline. In short, a slogan can be trademarked if it is easily memorable, imaginative, surprising, unexpected, or is a play-on-words.

Acquired Distinctiveness of Slogans

Some slogans can be trademarked even if it lacks the necessary distinctiveness. However, such slogans should possess acquired distinctiveness or secondary meaning. A trademark office will grant registration if the slogan has acquired a certain distinction among the consumers through years of continuous use in commerce or through substantial sales and advertising. Kit Kat’s ‘HAVE A BREAK’ slogan was able to get trademarked due to the distinctiveness it acquired through long-standing use.

If a slogan is mundane, the owners of the brand are required to demonstrate acquired distinctiveness to get trademark protection. You can use a good advertising campaign showing continuous use of a phrase or tagline to navigate the hurdle of non-distinctiveness. However, intense campaigns of short duration may not be adequate to evidence secondary meaning.

Is it Necessary to Trademark a Slogan?

If your company’s branding strategy includes taglines or slogans, it’s advisable to conduct trademark registration in the UAE. By doing so, you can protect the slogan across the UAE. It will grant you the right to enforce an infringement action against a competitor in court. If you fail to file a trademark application for the slogan, it will be hard for you to take action against an infringer.

Moreover, businesses that are smaller than yours may use your catchy slogan for merchandise of inferior quality. In such a case, you will lose potential sales and the brand’s ability to be identified as the best in the market. In short, your brand’s reputation will be damaged due to its illegal use of inferior products. Consulting with trademark agents in Dubai will give you an idea about how to register your slogans as trademarks.

Limitation of Registering a Phrase as a Trademark

Trademark registration in the UAE will grant protection to a slogan only against infringement from a similar phrase associated with a sufficiently similar good or service. It will be tough for you to trademark a slogan that already has a commonly used secondary meaning. Just because a company has trademarked the slogan ‘Impossible is Nothing’ does not give them the right to stop other brands from using the word ‘Impossible’. Trademark agents in Dubai can help you assess the enforcing powers of your trademarked slogans.

Speak with the Best Trademark Agents in Dubai, UAE

In an age where brands are seeking more visibility in the digital space, it’s essential to conduct trademark registration in the UAE for your brand’s slogans. Registering a slogan comes with both benefits as well as certain limitations. To make the most of your brand’s slogans, you need the professional assistance of trademark agents in Dubai such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP).

JIP can help you to assess the registrability of your proposed trademarks by performing trademark searches. We can also help you select the right trademark classes to represent the goods or services associated with the trademark. JIP’s qualified trademark experts can guide you through key aspects of brand registration in the UAE including trademark renewal, trademark watch services, anti-counterfeiting measures etc. JIP now offers advice regarding Madrid Protocol, which will enable you to register your trademarks internationally through a single filing.

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