The legal position is that slogans are considered registrable as trade marks provided that they have the capacity to individualise the goods or services of one undertaking because they are not comprised of signs or indications which directly describe the goods or services or their essential characteristics, and are not devoid of distinctive character for any other reason.
I recall back in 2003 – trying to file and failing ‘Bored of the Beckhams’ as a trade mark but it failed due to lack of distinctiveness. It seemed that the UKIPO were not very keen at the time of slogans relating to fashion and T shirts.
In ‘Das Prinzip Der Bequemlichkeit’ [“The Principle of Comfort”] C-64/02 P, the ECJ stated that slogans serving a promotional function which is not obviously secondary to any trade mark meaning will be objectionable because:
“…average consumers are not in the habit of making assumptions about the origin of products on the basis of such slogans” (paragraph 35).
Future classic … Givenchy. Illustration: Melissa Bailey