The Battle for “Nice”

"Woodrow Hartzog, an associate professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, whose focus includes intellectual property law, says that the feasibility of Yellowhammer’s plan is dependent on its ability to prove that the slogan is synonymous with their company.

“It’s important to note that if you’re going to claim trademark protection, you have to be using the mark in a way that indicates source sponsorship or affiliation and isn’t just using trademark law to have broader rights over a particular slogan,” Hartzog said. “A really good example is with shirts. The United States Patent and Trademark Office will not recognize a trademark in a slogan or design that is clearly ornamental — that is, that’s being used clearly for its display value rather than for its value as a source indicator.” For clothing designs, he said, the most valuable candidates for trademark were small brand-indicating logos such as the Lacoste alligator."