What is a slogan? A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a clan, political, commercial, religious, and other context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose, with the goal of persuading members of the public or a more defined target group, from Wikipedia. For example, M&M-"Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands", De Beers-"A Diamond is Forever", Harley Davidson-“American by Birth. Rebel by Choice”, Nike-“Just do it”, Walmart-“Save Money, Live better”.
It’s very common to see a company using slogan and trademark together for their product or service in practice. Comparing with the trademark, it is more accurate to show the key point of the product and services which also bring much more advertisement effect and positive feeling of the brand. Hence, in now days, more and more companies are trying to protect the slogans by different ways, for example, trademark registration and/or copyright registration. Not quite, but little know that the slogan can be registered as trademark in some countries, but is it also acceptable as a trademark in China?
Let’s see some samples from the China trademark office.
1. Trademark “你值得拥有！You’re worth it!” applied by L’oreal, rejected;
2. Trademark “非一般的感觉”applied by Xtep (China) Ltd., rejected;
3. Trademark “Just do it” applied by Nike Innovate C.V, approved;
4. Trademark “钻石恒久远·一颗永流传”applied by De Beers, approved;
5. Trademark “人生丰收时刻”applied by Hubei DaohuaXiang Wine Industry Ltd, approved;
According to the Trademark Examination Standard, it stipulated that the phrases or sentences show the characters of the product or services as well as the slogan cannot be registered as a trademark on the ground of its lacking distinctiveness. But the exception under this clause is if the slogan is original and unstylish, or the phrase and/or sentence are combined with other elements can obtain the distinctiveness that can be registered as a trademark. From this clause and the practices, it is possible to register a slogan as a trademark in China in skillful way.
By the nature of a Trademark, it is used to identify products or services of a particular source from those of others, so if you want to register a slogan as a trademark, in brief that is necessary to make the slogan has certain distinctiveness. For example, avoid using the adjective only or the common words as a slogan; or using polarization phrase as a slogan; or filing the application by the combination of slogan and logo and/or registered trademark together.