Patent Lawyers - What You Need to Know Before You Trademark a Phrase

Trademarks are used by companies to protect words, symbols, or a phrase representing a company or a product. This is to ensure that no other company can use the same set of symbols or words to trade-on the original company's identity, and if they do, there are legal repercussions to doing so.

Trademarking something like a phrase is not as straightforward as you might think. For instance, there are phrases you can trademark, while there are others that you simply cannot.

To find out more about the nuances of trademarking, keep reading below.

Requirements to register a trademark

There are various rules and regulations that the words or symbols you want to trademark must comply with to be eligible to be trademarked.

For example, one of the rules is that the trademarked phrase or symbol must be used for commercial purposes. This means that if the phrase or symbol is to be a trademark for any other reason, such as simply “because you like it,” your application will be rejected. Also, that phrase or symbol must not be like any other phrase that has already been trademarked or is still in the process of being trademarked. It must be totally unique, meaning that it should not sound similar to any other phrases that are trademarked or pending to be registered!

Other trademarking rules also talk about everyday terms, stating that a business cannot trademark common phrases used in everyday conversation. Commonly used phrases like "As I was saying" or "On the other hand" are such examples and cannot be trademarked.

Also, note that trademarking rules also specify that your trademark will only be protected against other businesses dealing with similar goods and services. This means it is not protected from other types of business, just the ones that are similar to your goods and services!

There are also rules that state that your trademark must be used to identify your business as the source of goods and services. It cannot be a description of the offerings, although this may apply on a case-by-case basis.

Going through the trademark application process

When you do decide to trademark something, the application process is fairly straightforward. First, you will need to do a quick search online of your phrase to make sure that no one else has trademarked it. This can be done on the USPTO website using their TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System). If it looks like no one else has trademarked a phrase that is the same or similar to yours, then you can complete the application! Once again, you can do this on the USPTO website using their TEAS (Trademark Electronic Application System). Do note that there will be an application fee that is non-refundable whether your trademark gets approved or not.

Once the application is sent, you need to wait. An examining attorney will look at your application, leading to either the denial or acceptance of your application.


The hardest part in trademarking your phrase or symbol is coming up with one that is unique and falls in line with all the trademarking rules. In some cases, trademarking may not be worth it, especially if you are only a small business that has a limited budget. For that reason, it is vital that you thoroughly ensure that the phrase or symbol you want to trademark is trademarkable. That way, you minimize wasted money on a denied application and ensure that your trademark is quickly set up to set yourself apart from competitors

Patent Lawyers offer highly experienced patent and trademark attorneys to help clients get the legal services they need when it comes to dealing with trademarking, patenting, and copyright concerns. Get a patent lawyer in Houston to help you with your trademark issues today!