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How the Heck Can You Trademark “God” and “God Bless America?”

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How the Heck Can You Trademark “God” and “God Bless America”

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 By Max McNabb

It may come as shock to learn that a Canadian hosiery company has a filed a trademark on the phrase “God Bless America.” On December 3, G & S Hosiery filed a trademark on the familiar phrase. How can someone register a trademark for a slogan so famous it seems to belong to everyone? Well, hold on to your seats because the word “God” has also been trademarked.

How the Heck Can You Trademark “God” and “God Bless America”
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God®? A company called Morell International, Inc. filed the trademark back in August. Just what exactly Morell International or the Canadian company intend to do with their trademarks is unknown. It should be understood that a trademark application can be filed for specific use of the phrase on certain items, such as Paris Hilton’s use of her catchphrase “That’s Hot” on clothing, electronic devices, and alcoholic beverages. It seems unlikely anyone would attempt to restrain “unauthorized” use of God’s name, but then again, the world is getting crazier by the minute.

What exactly are the qualifications for a registered trademark? To secure federal registration, the applicant has to create consumer association with their slogan and product or service. In other words, you have to show how the phrase is used to sell your goods. The phase also has to be inherently distinctive or achieved enough secondary meaning so that when someone hears it, the phrase immediately brings the product to mind. The more mundane the phrase, the greater secondary meaning will be needed.

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