How do I protect my own saying? 11 Answers as of September 17, 2013

I have a saying that I want to protect. I will make my own merchandise with it. I want to have sole rights to it and protect it from others trying to make money off it. How can I do that?

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DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
A short "saying" or phrase is usually not protectable with a copyright. That phrase placed on a t-shirt or other merchandise is protectable with a trademark.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/17/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Usually, a saying or phrase cannot be copyrighted or trademarked. However, a unique design that incorporates the saying may be copyrightable. And if the saying comes to be identified as representing the products or services of a particular company, it may qualify as a trademark. Example: Nike has used the phrase "Just Do It" often emough that when people read or hear it, they automatically think of Nike products.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 9/17/2013
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
You should file a trademark application.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/17/2013
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Based upon your description, your best option would be a trademark. As an example Donald Trump filed for the mark "You're Fired". You can visit the US Patent and Trademark office at USPTO.GOV, or contact a local trademark attorney who can help you to file an application.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/17/2013
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
Federal trademark registration is a good way to protect a phrase that you want to associate with merchandise that you sell.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 9/16/2013
    Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
    You can register it as a trademark. Since you haven't used it in commerce yet, you should register for intent to use. You will need to select a class etc. and should perform a trademark search to verify that it has not already been registered.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2013
    Mohr Intellectual Property Law
    Mohr Intellectual Property Law | Joseph Mohr
    You will want to secure a federal trademark registration directed to your saying and the merchandise you intend to associate with it.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/16/2013
    Tran & Associates | Bao Tran
    You should apply for a trademark you should also protect your patent application using software from
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2013
    Gerald R. Black, Esq.
    Gerald R. Black, Esq. | Gerald R. Black
    For some unknown reason, as a general rule the U.S. Copyright Office refuses to issue a copyright for an advertising slogan. However, the slogan can obtain copyright protection under common law. Also, you should consider trying to obtain trademark protection for the slogan. You should seek the advise of counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2013
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    Slogans also known as "sayings" must be tied to products or services to qualify for protection as a trademark or a service mark. Slogans cannot be protected by the patent laws. Slogans cannot be protected by copyright laws. Examples "Where's the beef?" a slogan for Wendy's hamburgers in the 1990's. "Don't leave home without it" a slogan for the American Express Card still used today. "The Breakfast of Champions" a slogan for Wheaties cereal still in use today.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/16/2013
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