You’ve come up with a great slogan – now how to go about protecting it? If your slogan is distinctive and original, it is protected by copyright law. This means you alone hold the right to publish and reproduce that slogan. Sometimes, it’s important to be able to prove that you are the one who invented it. So how can you do this?
Is my slogan distinctive and original?
While there is no instruction manual or step-by-step guide to answer this question for you, it is possible to judge fairly accurately for yourself. For instance, you can ask yourself how great the chances are that someone else will coin the same slogan. A good example is a recent case that dealt with copyright protection of the slogans used by the hockey brand Grays. The case involved five slogans: “Grays is the world’s #1 hockey brand”, “There’s only Grays for me”, “Grays is my choice”, “I stop ‘em all with Grays” and “No way you’re getting past my Grays”. The judge ruled that no free and creative choices had been made in arriving at the first sentence, as it was a factual statement regarding the company’s market position. This sentence could therefore not be subject to copyright protection. For the other four sentences, however, the judge ruled that free and creative choices had been applied. These sentences are therefore subject to copyright protection and may not be used by other parties without permission.
Registering your slogan
When you make an original, distinctive slogan perceptible to the senses, a copyright goes into effect. You can make the slogan perceptible to the senses by writing it down or saying it aloud. In order to prove that you are the one who holds the copyright, you must be able to demonstrate that you were the first person to use this particular slogan. When you upload your slogan to your CC Proof® account, it will immediately receive an official date stamp. This can serve as useful legal proof for you later.
Well-known examples of protected slogans are “Advancement Through Technology” from Audi and Nike’s “Just Do It”. These slogans have also been registered as brands.
If you wish to share your slogan – with another company, for example – it’s possible to send your registered document to a third party from your CC Proof® account. When you do this, the recipients will immediately see that you have registered your work – which means they will be aware of your copyright protection. The sending of the document will be recorded in your account’s log as well. That way, you will always be able to demonstrate that you sent your idea to the party in question at that specific time. By sharing your slogan securely like this, you encourage fair handling of your idea by the recipient.