Tips for Registering Catchphrase as Trademark

“Let’s get ready to rumble!” Feel familiar with this catchphrase? Not all boxing fans know Michael Buffer, but every one of them surely recognize his booming voice that has introduced legendary champions such Mike Tyson, Oscar de la Hoya, George Foreman, Manny Pacquiao and more.

The most interesting part is, this catchphrase has been used by Michael Buffer since 1984, and he had it trademarked in 1992. Since then, he has received about 400 million US Dollars in licensing income. How could that be?

As a ring announcer, Buffer has experimented with various catchphrases to excite the attending audience. Among them are “Man your battle stations!” and “Fasten your seatbelts!” but these phrases did not engage viewers. Eventually, he heard of boxing legend Muhammad Ali saying, “Rumble, young man, rumble!” and was inspired by it.

Buffer began to use the word rumble in his MC gigs. “We’re here tonight to witness 12 rounds of boxing in the heavyweight division, let’s get ready to rumble, introducing first in the red corner…” and so on. On the advice of a friend, Buffer would pause and put more emphasis on “Let’s get ready to rumble”, . He realized that doing so would make the crowd cheer excitedly.

When the catchphrase’s popularity rose, Buffer initially didn’t realize it’s commercial potential, until he saw it being used by a car dealer and reported it to his lawyer, who had his catchphrase successfully registered as a trademark in 1992

This decision proved to be very profitable for Buffer. He managed to have an income that is roughly equal to the legendary boxers, without ever throwing a single punch.

How is the regulation in Indonesia regarding the slogan or catchphrase as a trademark? A catchphrase is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a word or expression used repeatedly to represent or characterize a person, group, idea, or point of view”. According to this definition, we can conclude that catchphrase is similar to a jargon or a slogan.

According to Article 1 point 1 of Law no. 20 of 2016 on Marks and Geographical Indications (Trademark Law), “A brand is a sign that can be displayed graphically in the form of images, logos, names, words, letters, numbers, color arrangement, in the form of 2 (two) dimensions and/or 3 (three) dimensions. three) dimensions, sound, hologram, or a combination of 2 (two) or more of these elements to distinguish goods and/or services produced by persons or legal entities in the activities of trading goods and/or services.”

Thus, it can be concluded that the catchphrase or slogan can be registered as a mark, as long as it complies with the provisions of Article 1 point 1 of the Trademark Law and it becomes part of an item and/or service as a distinguishing element.

Apart from “Let’s get ready to rumble!” the following are other popular slogans that have also been registered as Trademarks:

  • I’m lovin it
    The famous slogan of a leading fastfood chain. Not only registered as a trademark slogan, but also as a ringtone
  • It’s finger lickin’ good
    Another slogan from a big fast food company, in this case their main menu is fried chicken. Eat with your hands, lick the spices and crumbs off your fingers, it’s really delicious! That’s roughly the meaning behind this slogan.
  • Just do it
    A slogan by the worldwide famous sportswear brand and first introduced in 1988. Inspired by serial killer Gary Gilmore’s last words before being sentenced to death.
  • Pancen Oye
    This slogan, which was specially created by the legendary puppeteer Ki Manteb Sudarsono for a headache medicine brand, has successfully endeared itself not only to radio viewers, but also on television. The unique use of regional languages ​​is its strength.
  • Aku Dan Kau Suka Dancow
    The slogan used by the Dancow milk brand. In 2016, this slogan managed to become the winner in the advertising slogan category at the Bright Awards.

So, are you ready to register your slogan? Make sure to pay attention to the following 4 things:

1. Originality

Originality is very important in any aspect of a product, including slogans. It must be ensured that a slogan has never been used by another product or is not too similar to an existing slogan. Creativity and knowledge of the market is very necessary.

2. Distinguishing Element

For a slogan, originality is not enough. In addition to being new, a slogan should also be able to make a product look different and more attractive than competing products. A unique, entertaining, or funny slogan can be the deciding factor that  favors the product in the eyes of the public.

3. Target market

Slogans can be effective by focusing on a specific target market. For example, Cap Lang’s eucalyptus oil uses the slogan “Buat Anak Kok Coba-Coba”, as if to convince consumers with children that their product is the best for the family. Although eucalyptus oil is not exclusively used by children, consumers with children can be more motivated to choose Cap Lang because they are influenced by the slogan.

4. Registration Process

During the process of registering a slogan as a brand, you must pay attention to all existing regulations, such as the required documents, the elements of the slogan itself and so on.

If Partners need further information regarding slogan registration as a trademark, please do not hesitate to contact us via Our Intellectual Property Consultants will be happy to assist.

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