Decoding Slogans & Phrases: Can They Be Trademarks in India?

A Mark Beyond Logos: The Journey of Slogans and Phrases

We often come across catchy slogans and memorable phrases that stick with us, becoming synonymous with the brands they represent. But can these phrases or slogans be trademarked in India? Let’s navigate through the complexity of the Indian trademark landscape and understand the dynamics behind trademarking words that often influence our buying decisions.

The Dual Purpose: Advertising vs. Branding

It’s essential to differentiate between a phrase’s primary function: is it just a catchy line for advertising, or does it also represent the brand? Let’s explore:

Purely for Advertising: “Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat” is a slogan that directly promotes the Kit Kat chocolate bar. If it was used only for its promotional value and did not become synonymous with the brand, it would not be eligible for trademarking.

The Blend of Branding and Advertising: However, the same slogan, “Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat”, over time, has also been identified distinctly with the Kit Kat brand. Thus, it serves both branding and advertising functions.

The crucial determinant here is whether the phrase or slogan goes beyond merely promoting the product and becomes identifiable with a particular brand or source.

Please note that, a generic phrase like “Buy Now”Limited Time Offer!”, “Buy One, Get One Free!”, “New and Improved!”, “Now in 3D!”, “Sale Ends Sunday!”, “Best Price Guarantee!”, “Easy to Assemble”, “Free Trial Inside!”, “Made with Real Fruit”, “Now with Faster Speeds!” might be widely used in advertising but doesn’t necessarily identify a brand.

The Litmus Test of Registrability
For a slogan or phrase to be trademarked in India, it must satisfy the criteria set by the Trade Marks Act, 1999. Simply put:

  1. If it’s exclusively for advertising, it won’t qualify.
  2. If it identifies the brand and advertises it, then it stands a chance.

To be clear, merely coining a catchy phrase isn’t enough. It’s the association and recognition it receives from the public that plays a pivotal role in determining its registrability under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

Making Your Words Count The Right Documentation
As with all legal procedures, evidence plays a pivotal role. When aiming to trademark a phrase or slogan, one must provide substantial evidence proving that the phrase serves as more than just an advertising gimmick.

The Helping Hand: “Legal Terminus” and Trademark Registrations
Navigating the trademark waters can be tricky, especially when it comes to phrases and slogans. That’s where “Legal Terminus” steps in. With their expertise, they can guide you in understanding whether your slogan or phrase can be trademarked. They’ll assist in not only checking its eligibility but also ensuring a smooth registration process, making sure your brand’s voice stands unique and protected.


Slogans and phrases are more than just words; they capture the essence of a brand, often forming a bridge between the brand and its consumers. While the path to trademarking them in India might seem riddled with nuances, with the right guidance and understanding, it becomes clear that these catchy lines can, indeed, wear the badge of a trademark.

Note: This article serves an informative purpose and aims to simplify the intricacies of trademark registration.

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