South Sioux City, NE asked in Copyright and Trademark for Nebraska

Q: Which is better to copyright or trademark?

We have a new slogan we want to trademark - U Mortgage (powered by Siouxland Federal Credit Union)

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Gerity
Michael Gerity
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ

A: Hello. Copyright and trademark are completely different types of protection for different types of intellectual property. A copyright is intended to protect forms of creative expression. We typically think of movies, books, songs, pictures and things like that, though copyrights are also used for computer programs and other forms of expression. Meanwhile, trademarks are used to protect words, phrases, logos, etc., specifically as they are used in the commercial offering of products and services.

So, generally slogans are not eligible for copyright. If you are looking to start offering mortgage or related services or products using a new slogan, then you would most definitely want to pursue trademark protection. Before you go down that path, you definitely need to do a lot of prep work before filing--failing to properly screen and prepare prior to filing for a trademark is the number one reason (by far) for all to common rejections of applications. Preliminary questions include whether or not your proposed slogan is even eligible for registration, or is it precluded because it is merely descriptive or for some other reason. Have you started using the mark in commerce yet? Are there any existing marks (whether they are registered or not) that might cause a conflict? Again, pre-screening is absolutely, positively the most important thing you can do at this stage.

We have extensive experience with this work, and love working with trademark clients, so feel free to reach out for me for more specific guidance if you'd like.

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