Should You Trademark Your Name Separate from the Slogan?

By Brette Sember, J.D.

Should You Trademark Your Name Separate from the Slogan?

By Brette Sember, J.D.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines a trademark as "a word, symbol, and/or design" that allows consumers to distinguish similar goods and services. That means that company names, logos, and slogans can all be trademarked. When you register a trademark, you get the exclusive right to use that name, logo, or slogan to identify your product or service. It's a good idea to trademark the three together and separately so that you have maximum protection.

Man with round glasses and hair slicked back holding pencil to computer screen displaying logos

Different Elements to Trademark

Different words and graphics that are used in conjunction with a product can all be trademarked. For example, Nike has a trademark not only on the name "Nike" but also the swoosh logo and the slogan "Just do it." Your company should consider trademarking all distinguishing elements of your product.

There are several different brand elements your company can consider trademarking:

  • Company name. Trademarking your company name alone allows you to use the name by itself. You can put it on a building, stationary, website, or even packaging. Nike, for example, is able to use the name "Nike" with every product it produces because they have trademarked the name separately. Protecting your company name separately allows you to use it in different applications.
  • Logo. Trademarking your logo separately gives you flexibility to use it by itself on packaging or on the product. If your name and logo are trademarked together as one, you wouldn't be able to do that. Nike is able to use the swoosh mark separately on clothing or other items, without the name "Nike" appearing with it, because they have trademarked the logo separately.
  • Slogan. Trademarking the slogan separately allows you to apply it to different products. Nike has trademarked "Just do it." separately and can use that slogan with any of its products or in any of its promotional materials without having to attach it to the name "Nike" or to the swoosh. This lets you link a family of products by using the same slogan with all of them.

Trademarking each item individually gives you protection for each element and allows you to use each element separately, if you wish.

Combined Trademarks

In addition to trademarking your name, slogan, and logo separately, it is a good idea to apply for separate trademarks of these elements in combination with each other. For example, Nike has a trademark for the swoosh with the word "Nike" above it and one for Nike with "Just do it." A separate trademark for these combinations is a good idea because, by combining the two elements, they become something entirely new. You want to be sure you have protection if the combination creates a design that itself can be trademarked.

You can apply for trademarks on your own by submitting a trademark application to the USPTO or you can hire an attorney or online legal provider to assist you. Trademarking your company's unique identifiers can protect you from infringement and help you manage your brand.

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