[Cache – #20]
One of the most challenging things about developing a name for your product, service or organization is finding one that can be owned. Registered as a trademark and then protected from use by others, in other words. It is always essential in your process to have more than one name you can live with, because some monikers on your shortlist will already be owned, or will not be “distinctive” in legal terms – meaning that because they’re in sufficiently wide usage, no one person or organization can validly claim ownership.
Ask Donald Trump or Paris Hilton, and they will tell you the same principles apply to catchphrases. The Donald was unsuccessful in his attempt to trademark “you’re fired,” as was Paris Hilton with “that’s hot,” because those expressions are ubiquitous.
But how will Charlie Sheen fare in his recently announced attempt to register 22 catchphrases, including “duh, winning,” “the Vatican assassin” and “tiger blood”? As was the case for his publicity-lusting celebrity brethren, the distinctiveness test will prove decisive.
Of the above three phrases, “duh, winning” could be the most difficult challenge, because those words just don’t have the ring of distinctiveness. On the other hand, he could be successful if he establishes that enough of the public associates “duh, winning” with him.
As for “the Vatican assassin” and “tiger blood,” they have the ring of Charlie’s drug-addled brain alone. Which could provide at least tenuous support for his assertion, another of the trademarks he seeks: “I’m not bi-polar, I’m bi-winning.”
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