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Can you copyright or trademark a phrase?

trivets12 14 1.3k
13 Feb 2013 5:45PM
I've been trying to think of a title for bridal re-shoots after seeing many photographers doing this kind of package. I hated the whole 'Trash The Dress' thing but was trying to go down the line of Treasure the Dress or Cherish the Dress. I searched Treasure the Dress on Google and saw that one photographer was using it and had put TM beside which usually means 'trademarked' doesn't it? Is that correct, and does that mean I cannot use it?

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Jat_Riski 9 89 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 5:59PM
"Bless The Dress" you can have a for free of meTongueGrin
pulsar69 14 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 6:03PM
I am sure you will find it is not trademarked and I am not sure on the legality of actually putting TM next to things just for fun ? , guess its just the photographers way of attempting to protect it
pulsar69 14 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 6:05PM
In fact a quick search of a government site reveals :

"The symbol "TM" has no legal significance in the United Kingdom"
13 Feb 2013 7:11PM
I have no idea really but I am sure it would depend on the other user, if it was something like I'm loving it (whistle whistle) then I bet my bottom dollar the Mr Maccy D wold be on your case straight away, and I suppose if your product was in the same vein as the other there might be issues, I have heard in the past of people calling things "R us" and getting hassle, and there is a pub in Southampton called The Hobbit ( I think) and has been for years and now some big Hollywood film company has the book and film rights they are trying to make them change it. I have found the below which explains the difference if it helps, the site is American, but I don't think it should make a difference as I think it is Global.

Trademark, copyright or patent?
What is a trademark or service mark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this booklet, the terms "trademark" and "mark" refer to both trademarks and service marks.
Do Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents protect the same things?

No. Trademarks, copyrights and patents all differ. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects an invention. For copyright information, go to http://www.copyright.gov . For patent information, go to http://www.uspto.gov/main/patents.htm .
User_Removed 14 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 10:04PM
Anyone can put TM next to something to let people know that it's their trade mark. Actually registering the mark gives them much more protection and they can use ® or ®TM

If you use the same phrase as one that's heavily associated with another business they can sue you for "passing off". That's different from trademark infringement. For example I think that "Tesco" is a registered trademark, but "Every Little Helps" isn't. However don't try using it as a strap-line for your grocery store.
SnowStar 5 1
13 Feb 2013 10:43PM
I had looked this up online months ago because I dabble in arts and crafts along with photography. I questioned if any sayings- quotes- phrases- etc were a free for all.

I am in the USA and according to what I read of our laws *you cannot "copyright" quotes or phrases*.

But here is a link for those in the USA- you can read it online or save as a pdf file:


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