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My husband has written poems for years, now we have one we are wanting to get trademark on the phase.

Portland, TN |
Filed under: Transportation law

Could you please instruct me on the process that I need to take to get the trademark. I have looked at some sites and there is alot of information and I want to make sure that I am doing it correctly

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Attorney answers 5


Sorry, but I do not know what 'phase' you refer to.

The poems are covered by copyright automatically, although being able to enforce the copyrights requires registration at

As for trademarks, they basically are names or designs (logos) that ‘mark’ the source of a product or service. Long ago bakers for example put a unique mark on their breads so people would know if they have the genuine article. One is entitled to register a trademark if they have used it in commerce and still do. To register a trademark you will do best to get a TM attorney on board—it is tricky, not just filling in a paper.

Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-client relationship, and is not a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.

Philip Leon Marcus

Philip Leon Marcus


I forgot to point you to this article:

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick


See the official instruction from the horse's mouth, The United States Patent and Trademark Office, at .


See the official instruction from the horse's mouth, The United States Patent and Trademark Office, at . They really have interesting and entertaining instructional videos that you should enjoy watching and which will answer your basic questions.

As regards a phrase from a poem, you need to attach that phrase to some goods or services and sell them in interstate commerce. In order to obtain useful trademark or service mark protection and you should thereafter promptly register that protection with the US PTO. In that regard, use a trademark attorney and do not try to do a trademark registration on your own, at least not the first time. We get about a dozen questions here every week by people who have not heeded that advice and are now in trouble due to the mess they created by trying to go cheap and not use an attorney. You do not want to follow their example, it will end up costing you more money and lots of stress.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.


I happen to be a proponent of registering as trademarks certain phrases. For example, our law firm, Elman Technology Law, PC, has registered "STRATEGIC LAWYERING. CULTIVATING INNOVATION." as a trademark (or sometimes referred to as a "service mark") for our professional services involving intellectual property law. And just last year, we added another one: "SCIENCE FICTION MEETS LEGAL VISION" in connection with an advertisement touting my services as informed by the visionaries of science fiction.

But in order to register such a phrase, slogan, tagline, whatever you call it, it would need to be used in connection with particular goods or services. I didn't see that mentioned in your question.

This posting is intended for general education and isn't "legal advice." It doesn't create or evidence an attorney-client relationship. You are encouraged to engage an attorney in the pertinent jurisdiction for confidential legal advice on matters of any importance. -Gerry J. Elman, J.D. Elman Technology Law, P.C. Swarthmore, PA


The poems themselves are copyrightable, and your husband should see an IP lawyer for that. He can possibly trademark a phrase for the collection, but books aren't usually registered for trademarks., One example is the ". . . For Dummies" series of books, with the familiar yellow and black "trade dress," which designates them as the source of their books, CDs, websites, etc.

You can also, as my colleagues note, register a trademark for a phrase describing the poems. Book titles themselves are not capable of being trademarks, since their title itself serves to identify the product. Your husband should see his own IP counsel to discuss all the facts of his situation and his various and best options.

Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.


You should consult local counsel. Kathryn Strong practices in this area and is local in Gallatin. She should be able to assist you.

If you find this answer helpful, please let other readers know by marking the answer as "helpful". No discussion on this board is intended to replace the advice or consultation when all facts are disclosed and pleadings reviewed. No attorney client relationship is established by initiating this discussion with the attorney. For further discussion, I can be contacted by phone at 615-452-4423 or my email at Most consultations are free. My office is located in Gallatin, TN and I am licensed to practice in the state of Tennessee.

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