Trademark Protection for Slogans and Taglines

Brand names and logos are not the same thing as slogans and taglines. They can be one or more words and are used in conjunction with a company's brand to communicate the company's message. They are memorable catchphrases or mottos that are used in marketing and selling a product or service.

Slogans and Taglines

Typically, slogans or taglines are used in conjunction with a primary brand identity, such as the name of the firm. During the course of the trademark registration, they will be handled in the same manner as word marks, and the onus of proving that the slogan has become unique will be placed on the applicant. Even while they are helpful to businesses in developing their brand identities, they are not often seen as being unique enough to be registered as trademarks.

Examples of slogans or phrases that have been registered as trademarks include "JUST DO IT" by Nike and "I'M LOVIN' IT" by McDonald's, amongst others.

To Obtain a Trademark for a Slogan or Phrase

If the firm can come up with an effective slogan, it will be able to boost both its reputation and its appeal.

However, in order to secure trademark registration for a slogan or phrase, the following requirements need to be met −

  • There cannot be another slogan that is same or substantially similar that is already registered for the same category of products or services.

  • The slogans are not allowed to be descriptive in nature. The application for registration will be turned down if the trademark or slogan is descriptive of the goods or services being offered.

  • The catchphrases ought to stand out from one another. In order to gain registration, it is necessary for them to be original, innovative, or have a distinctive expression.

Companies who utilise the slogan in their public relations efforts will be eligible for trademark registration of the slogan. The majority of companies include taglines or slogans into their ATL (above the line) and BTL (below the line) marketing campaigns. The Registrar of trademarks will give trademark registration to businesses that express an interest in utilising the slogans in the advertising of their products or services if they meet the requirements.

The company's brand has to be strengthened by the phrase. People will be able to better connect with a company and the brand if it has a memorable slogan or phrase that complements the name of the business and makes it more appealing. Such slogans have the ability to register as trademarks, which ensures that they are protected.

Considerations to Make Before Applying to Register a Trademark for a Phrase or Slogan

In order to qualify for a trademark for a phrase or slogan, the phrase or slogan in question needs to be one of a kind and stand out from the crowd. In the following circumstances, the application to register the slogans or phrases as trademarks will be declined

Slogans That Are Simply Descriptive

It is not possible to register as a trademark any slogans or phrases that are both descriptive and straightforward. For instance, the phrase "Own Your Vehicle Today" cannot be trademarked as a slogan for a vehicle firm since it explains in plain English the primary focus of the company's operations.

Value Statements

There are several companies that have vision, value, or purpose statements such as "Always Happy To Support Customers." Since these corporate statements lack any distinguishing qualities, they are unable to be registered as a trademark for use as a slogan.

Motivational Quotes

It is impossible to obtain a trademark for a motivational saying or inspirational remark such as "Go For It" or "Achieve Big" since such phrases are not distinctive enough to be associated with a specific item or service. Because of this, generic sayings that are intended to motivate or inspire people cannot be registered as trademarks.

Statements Regarding Customer Service

Statements on customer service are often broad in scope and applicable to a variety of enterprises. Because of their lack of a distinguishable quality and their generic nature, phrases relating to customer service that are commonly used, such as "The Customer Comes First," cannot be trademarked as slogans.

1Slogans that are simply descriptive
2Value statements
3Motivational quotes
4Statement Regarding customer service
5Message with promotional purpose
6Declarative statements  Regarding the user

Messages with Promotional Purpose

It is not possible to get trademark protection for promotional phrases such as "Show Your Love With Roses." These kind of slogans are highly detailed and straightforward, and they are frequently employed in the giving sector.

Declarative Statements Regarding the User

In most cases, lines like "World's Best Brother" or "Apple of My Eye" and other remarks about a user are printed on mugs, apparel, and other memorabilia/souvenirs. Other statements about a user may also be included. Since these slogans are so straightforward and clear, they are ineligible for registration as trademarks even if they contain claims about the user.

The Case Laws Regarding the Trademarking of a Slogan or Phrase

The Delhi High Court ruled in the matter of "PepsiCo Inc. vs Hindustan Coca Cola Ltd. & Anr." that the common law remedy of passing off may be used to protect slogans. In this particular instance, it was argued that the phrase "Yeh Dil Maange More" was protected by copyright and ought to be safeguarded because it was registered as such. The Advertising Theme is Protected since the Delhi High Court ruled that the term is an original work by the appellant and because of this, the advertising theme is protected.

In the case entitled "Godfrey Phillips India Ltd. vs. Dharmpal Satyapal & Anr," the Delhi High Court ruled that the slogan "shauq badi cheez hai" was nothing more than a combination of everyday words and was therefore not eligible for copyright protection as a literary work. This decision was made in light of the fact that the slogan did not qualify as a literary work.

The Karnataka High Court ruled that the slogan "I am what I am" is a generic expression in the case "Reebok India Company vs. Gomzi active." The action was brought by Reebok India Company. As a result, it had not developed a unique character after being associated with the respondent's goods, and as a result, trademark protection cannot be awarded to it.


Slogans and taglines are essential components of a company's identity, and they make a significant contribution to the equity of a brand. Slogans are used by practically all brands in today's market because they help improve a brand's image, aid in its identification and recall, and contribute to the creation of brand distinction in the eyes of consumers. Although there is widespread agreement regarding the significance of the device itself, there is considerably less unanimity over the elements that make up an effective slogan. In light of this, even while marketing managers make heavy use of slogans, they frequently struggle to come up with original versions of these phrases on their own. This, in turn, results in an inefficient use of slogans and, eventually, the likelihood of a surprise lack of connectivity between a brand and its slogan. This can happen even with the most well-known businesses.


Q1. Can Slogan qualify for trademark protection?

Ans. Yes, Slogans are essential components of advertising campaigns because owners of brands have the expectation that consumers would connect the slogan with their goods or services and, by extension, with their brand. Because of this, the subject of protection is one that should be given a lot of consideration.

Q2. What are the popular taglines that are registered in India?

Ans. Some of the popular taglines are Amul - the taste of India, Surf - Daag acche hai etc.

Updated on: 15-Feb-2023


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