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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    12

    Default Trademark Dispute Over a Slogan or Tag Line

    Hi,
    Okay so I have a website [...] and I used a slogan "A fun new virtual world for kids and teens!" and I have used that for about a year I believe. Then another virtual world claiming a "stole" their slogan. When there is about as much proof as there is a actual virtual world out from wither of us (as far as I know of) and they do not have a federal copyright (the copyright.gov) neither do I. Can they sue me? Send me a C&D? Can they do anything? So I keep it up or not? I'm not much of legal expert so I don't know what to do. Any help would be awesome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,813

    Default Re: Trademark/Copyright Slogan

    Yes, Yes, see previous, up to you whether you want to deal with the first 2 or not. It is possible, regardless of whether it is copyrighted, for them to defend their claim to the slogan. You can try to do the same. Have they informed you how long they have been using the slogan?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trademark/Copyright Slogan

    Quote Quoting free9man
    View Post
    Yes, Yes, see previous, up to you whether you want to deal with the first 2 or not. It is possible, regardless of whether it is copyrighted, for them to defend their claim to the slogan. You can try to do the same. Have they informed you how long they have been using the slogan?
    Hi,
    I believe they have been using it for about over a year or so, it's about the same time my website came out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,813

    Default Re: Trademark/Copyright Slogan

    About the same is next to meaningless if it comes to a court battle. You need to try and find out exactly when they started using it versus when you did. Is it at all possible you may have encountered their slogan somewhere and forgotten?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Trademark/Copyright Slogan

    Can they sue me? Send me a C&D? Can they do anything?
    yes, yes, and yes but what they can demand be enforced varies with facts you do not have. Since this appears to not be limited by any geographical area, it would appear you are both in direct competition with each other. You will have to determine who used it in commerce first in order to figure out who has what rights.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,485

    Default Re: Trademark/Copyright Slogan

    That sounds like something that is not eligible for trademark protection. It's purely descriptive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Trademark/Copyright Slogan

    Quote Quoting free9man
    About the same is next to meaningless if it comes to a court battle. You need to try and find out exactly when they started using it versus when you did.
    Quote Quoting jk
    You will have to determine who used it in commerce first in order to figure out who has what rights.
    I disagree with both assertions.

    Slogans cannot be copyrighted, according to Copyright Basics.

    You are using your slogan in advertising, and not associated with a product, so it is not a trademark.

    Slogans can qualify as service marks (15 USC 1127). Service marks have many similarities with and some differences from trademarks. Like trademarks, the critical issue with a service mark is how much of a targeted market associates your service mark (slogan) with your company. That does not depend on who started using it first.

    Registered service marks must be used with the R-in-a-circle glyph. If he is not using that glyph, he likely has not registered the slogan. If he has registered the slogan, and you use the slogan, then the burden of proof is on you to prove that you are not violating his service mark. If he has not registered the slogan, then the burden of proof is on him to prove that you are violating his unregistered service mark.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Trademark/Copyright Slogan

    Hi,
    Someone told me that slogans don't retain a trademark and in this case it wouldn't as it's not like saying JUST that one website. But mine logo is kinda broad.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    695

    Default Re: Trademark/Copyright Slogan

    IMO the slogan is too broad to be eligible for federal protection.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Trademark/Copyright Slogan

    it's not that slogans can't be trademarked, it's that to be eligible for trademark status, there are requirements. As the others have said, yours is simply descriptive and generic. Now, just to confuse things, there are some trademarks that can be described about the same way yet they were accepted for trademark registration

    One thing about a trademark; it is something that represents the company that allows a person to identify that company even if the actual company name is not present.

    an example of a somewhat generic phrase that is a registered trademark, and it is so associated with the company that a person can know what company is involved only by the phrase would be:


    the Ultimate Driving Machine




    Of course, that is owned by BMW.

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