Updated: Aug 28, 2022
"Nobody owns 'turnt.' That's just something people say."
Have you expressed a similar sentiment before marketing merchandise with a catchphrase or joke made popular by social media? Within U.S. trademark law, you may not trademark so called commonplace words and phrases. However, it would be a mistake to assume that any word or phrase you hear multiple times a year in the course of ordinary conversation would be considered "commonplace" by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Many slang and derivative words and phrases may have become more widely used after being made popular by a movie, song, or viral social media post. However, these sayings do still have an original author that has a right to own and monetize her brainchild. The prudent small business owner will always check the trademark database before moving forward with a project based the latest slang. Likewise, the prudent social influencer will immediately file for trademark of her jokes and sayings that go viral. If you would like our assistance with a trademark search and eventual filing of your trademark application, please contact us for a consultation.
In case you a curious about the above example, there are over a dozen live applications or approvals for some phrase containing the word "turnt."
Posts are not legal advice nor representation.