Look What You Made Me Do: Trademark My Iconic Phrases

As we all know, Taylor Swift’s new album “Reputation” is already getting a lot of attention and media coverage, but what we all missed was the trademark protection it also picked up along the way.

On August 25, 2017, just one day after she released the single, the singer/songwriter filed applications with USPTO for the phrases “Look What You Made Me Do” and “The Old Taylor Can’t Come To The Phone Right Now”. Trademarking a catch phrase is no simple task, and a lot of phrases will never be able to gain protection.

Phrases that convey information or are extremely common place (i.e. basic) will not be granted trademark protection. Why? Well, because trademark protection is given to words or designs that are source identifiers, and if the phrase is one that merely provides information, like ‘fragile’ then it is not worthy of trademark protection.

Some famous phrases that have been trademarked are “That’s Hot” by Paris Hilton and “Lets Get Ready To Rumble” by Michael Buffer. What trademarking a phrase gets someone is the exclusive right to profit from the use of the phrase through the sale of goods or services.


So, congrats to Taylor for recognizing the future value of her phrases and registering them as hers before they became victim of the public domain.

Information accredited to Refinery29, USPTO, and Gerben Law.



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