Sometimes in the course of running your business’s marketing campaigns, you could formulate a slogan or a set of words to accompany your trademarks. For example, Nike has “Just Do It” as a slogan they sometimes use with the logo.
If you have developed a slogan or a hashtag that resonates with your audience, you could wonder if you should trademark it. The answer to that question may depend on several factors, including how long you intend to use the slogan and if it is unique.
You Should Trademark It if You Intend to Use It for the Long-Term
You could use several slogans or hashtags in your marketing campaigns without trademarking them. But along the way, you could coin a phrase that resonates with your audience and brand. Such a tagline or slogan is worth keeping for the long term.
Unlike artistic creations where the artists have a copyright to their work by default, claiming a phrase as your own may not be possible unless you have trademarked it. After all, anyone can make up a set of words. For example, anyone can use the words “just do it” in everyday communication.
But no individual or entity can use the slogan in a marketing campaign because it is Nike’s registered slogan. Like other trademarks, registering your slogan gives you the exclusive right to it in your marketing campaigns. If another entity uses your slogans, they will be infringing your trademark rights, and you have a right to sue them for the infringement.
The Cost of Trademarking a Slogan
The cost of trademarking a slogan is no different from any other trademark. Typically the cost of filing a trademark in Canada is $335.93 for the first class of goods and services you intend to use your trademark on and an additional $101.80 for additional classes of goods and products payable to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
The cost of trademarking your slogan is not limited to the official fees. You will also need to pay other fees, for example, professional fees, if you intend to use professionals such as IP lawyers in the trademarking process. The cost of hiring a professional for help in the trademarking process will vary from one professional to the other.
Some taxes may also apply, but you should expect to spend around $3,000 to $5,000 throughout the process.
Steps to Trademarking a Slogan
Using the help of a lawyer is the best way to register your IP rights, including your slogans. With a lawyer, you may not need to know the process of trademarking since the lawyer will do most of the work for you, but here is a short breakdown of the process.
Trademark search – This stage involves searching to ensure that a slogan isn’t picked already.
Applying – At this stage, you apply and pay the applicable fees
Filling trademark maintenance documents – After an application goes through, you will receive the trademark certificate. But you will need to file its maintenance paperwork as required; five years after initial registration, ten years after initial registration, and every ten years after that.
How Long Will the Trademark Slogan Last?
All Canadian trademark protections last for ten years. Unlike some IP rights, such as patents or industrial design protections with a definite expiry period, trademarks are renewable at expiry.
So, you can reserve the right to use your slogans if you keep renewing your trademark rights by paying applicable fees. The best approach is to pay a few months before expiry to avoid lapses in protections. CIPO allows a six months grace period after the expiry of the trademark period, after which you lose legal claim to your trademarks.
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