How To Trademark A Saying?

How To Trademark a Saying

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If you’ve ever heard a saying and thought, “That would make fit perfectly,” you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs and businesses recognize the value of a memorable saying. But did you know that you can protect these phrases legally? It’s called trademarking, and it’s a vital step in safeguarding your unique expressions from being used by others without your permission. From famous slogans to unique sayings, trademarking a saying ensures that it remains associated exclusively with your brand/product or you.

Here is to learning why and how to trademark a saying.

Why To Trademark a Saying?

Trademarking a saying, especially if it’s a famous quote from an author or public figure, serves several important purposes. Firstly, it protects the integrity and attribution of the saying, ensuring that it remains associated with the original creator. This is crucial for authors and artists who rely on their intellectual property for recognition and livelihood. By trademarking their sayings, they can prevent others from misattributing or misusing their words for commercial gain.

Secondly, trademarking a saying can also generate revenue streams through licensing agreements. For instance, imagine if “To be, or not to be: that is the question” from Shakespeare’s Hamlet were trademarked. Every time it’s used in books, films, or merchandise, the trademark holder could earn royalties. This not only rewards the original creator but also incentivizes the continued production of valuable content.

Moreover, trademarking famous sayings can protect against unauthorized use or exploitation. Consider the quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world” often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. If someone were to use this saying to endorse products or services without permission, trademark protection would enable legal recourse.

If someone uses your saying without permission, you have the right to file a trademark infringement claim against them. However, it’s important to note that in order to pursue such legal action, your saying must first be officially trademarked. Trademark registration provides you with the legal standing to assert your exclusive rights to the saying and take appropriate measures to enforce those rights. Without a registered trademark, it may be challenging to establish your ownership of the saying and pursue infringement claims effectively.

How To Trademark a Saying?

  1. Decide How to File: Before you begin the process, determine how you want to file your trademark application. You can choose to file directly through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), use a legal website, or seek assistance from an attorney.
  2. Review the Current Fee Schedule: Check the current fee schedule provided by the USPTO to ensure you understand the costs associated with trademark registration. Fees may vary depending on the filing method and the number of classes of goods or services.
  3. Search for Similar Trademarks: Conduct a thorough search in the USPTO Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to confirm that no similar trademarks already exist. This database contains all registered trademarks and will help you avoid potential conflicts.
  4. Apply to Trademark a Phrase: Once you’ve completed your research and are confident that your saying is unique, file your trademark application through the USPTO TEAS portal. Your application should include:
    • A statement of use, indicating how the phrase will be used in commerce.
    • A list of preexisting examples of use, demonstrating how the phrase has been used previously.
    • A drawing of the trademark, if applicable.
    • A specimen of the trademark, such as a sample of how the phrase will appear on products or marketing materials.
    • The required filing fee, which may vary depending on the chosen filing option and additional classes of goods or services.
  5. Use Your Trademark: While your trademark application is pending, you can use the TM or SM symbols to indicate that you’re claiming rights to the phrase. Once your trademark is officially registered, you can use the ® symbol to notify others of your trademark status and enjoy exclusive rights to use the phrase in commerce.

Let’s say you’ve liked the saying “Dream Big, Achieve Bigger” to inspire and motivate others. After conducting a search in the USPTO database to ensure no similar trademarks exist, you decide to file a trademark application through the TEAS portal. In your application, you provide evidence of how the saying has been used in commerce, such as on merchandise or promotional materials. Once your trademark is registered, you can proudly display the ® symbol alongside your saying, signaling to others that it’s a protected trademark associated with your brand or business.

How Much Does It Cost To Trademark A Saying?

The cost of trademarking a saying can vary depending on the filing method and the number of classes of goods or services associated with the trademark. When filing directly with the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), there are three main options available:

  1. TEAS Plus: This option has a basic filing fee of $250. If additional classes of goods or services are required, there’s an upfront fee of $125 per additional class. With TEAS Plus, applicants can receive further communications via email.
  2. TEAS Reduced Fee: The basic filing fee for this option is $275. Applicants have the option to pay $125 for each additional class of goods or services later. Similar to TEAS Plus, applicants can receive further communications via email.
  3. TEAS Regular: This option involves a basic filing fee of $350. There are additional fees for adding classes of goods and services. Unlike TEAS Plus and TEAS Reduced Fee, applicants have the option to submit further application materials outside of the TEAS system.

So, depending on the chosen option and the complexity of the trademark application, the cost of trademarking a saying can range from $250 to $475 for the basic filing fee, with potential additional costs for multiple classes of goods or services.

Some Famous Trademarked Sayings:

Here are some famous sayings that were trademarked and continue to generate royalties for their creators or their estates:

  1. “That’s hot!” – Paris Hilton popularized this phrase, which became synonymous with her persona. Trademarked for use on clothing, perfume, and other merchandise, it continues to generate royalties for Hilton.
  2. “You’re fired!” – Donald Trump’s catchphrase from his reality TV show “The Apprentice” was trademarked for various entertainment and business-related contexts. Despite its controversial nature, it remains a recognizable phrase.
  3. “Make America Great Again” – This political slogan, trademarked by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign in 2015, remains emblematic of his political movement. It’s prominently featured on merchandise and political paraphernalia.
  4. “Let’s get ready to rumble!” – Michael Buffer, a renowned boxing and wrestling announcer, trademarked this phrase for use in sports entertainment events. Its electrifying delivery has made it a staple in sporting arenas worldwide.
  5. “I’m the King of the World!” – This iconic line from the movie “Titanic,” spoken by Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, was trademarked by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Despite its fictional origin, it remains ingrained in popular culture.
  6. “May the Force be with you.” – A hallmark of the “Star Wars” franchise, this phrase was trademarked by Lucasfilm Ltd. It’s featured on various merchandise and promotional materials, embodying the spirit of the series.
  7. “Just do it.” – Nike’s motivational slogan, trademarked for advertising campaigns, has transcended its commercial origins to become a cultural touchstone. It encapsulates the brand’s ethos of determination and action.

When to Renew Trademarked Saying?

Renewal fees for a trademarked saying typically need to be paid periodically to maintain the trademark’s active status. In the United States, for example, trademark registrations must be renewed every 10 years from the date of registration to keep them active. Failure to renew a trademark can result in its abandonment, meaning it may no longer provide legal protection.

Trademark renewal fees are usually due before the expiration date of the current registration period. The trademark owner or their representative will receive a notice from the trademark office indicating the upcoming renewal deadline and the associated fees. It’s essential to keep track of these deadlines and ensure timely payment to avoid losing the trademark rights.

In addition to the renewal fees, trademark owners may also need to provide evidence of continued use of the trademark in commerce to maintain its registration. This requirement helps ensure that trademarks are actively used and not merely registered for speculative purpose.

We Are Here To Serve You!

Feel free to reach out to us today if you’re interested in learning more about how to trademark a saying. Our team is here to assist you every step of the way, ensuring that your words receive the spotlight they deserve. Trademarking your saying is essential for safeguarding your intellectual property and establishing exclusive rights to its use.