Most of us are aware that you can trademark a slogan, a logo, and a name, but did you know that it is also possible to trademark a sound? Of course, in order to get approval from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, said sound must “uniquely identify the commercial origin of the product or service.” It may sound fairly cut and dry, but keep in mind that the folks at Harley-Davidson were denied trademark status on their allegedly unique “Potato-Potato-Potato” sound. Here are some sounds that did pass muster and are officially trademarked:
1. The MGM Lion
So far there have been five different lions used for the MGM logo. The first one to roar (and the one who provided the trademarked sound) was named Jackie.
2. The NBC Chimes
This was the first sound to be trademarked, back in 1950. For the musicians in the audience, those three notes that make up the chimes are G, E and C.
3. The 20th Century Fox Fanfare
The music that plays behind the 20th Century Fox logo was composed by Alfred Newman, who served as the head of the studio’s music department for over 20 years. He also conducted the orchestra for most of the Rogers and Hammerstein musicals and won nine Academy Awards over the course of his career.
4. Harlem Globetrotter’s Theme (Sweet Georgia Brown)
The version that’s trademarked was recorded by Brother Bones and His Shadows. The ‘Trotters adopted it as their signature tune in 1952.
5. Lucasfilms THX Deep Note
The synthesized crescendo was created by Dr. James A. Moorer and debuted in theaters in the 1983 trailer for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
6. Intel Inside Bong
Composed by Walter Werzowa in his home studio, the five note logo is allegedly broadcast somewhere in the world every five minutes.
7. Federal Signal Q2B Siren
This siren was used on almost all emergency vehicles at one time, but now it is mostly employed by fire engines.
The trademarked logo consists of a voice saying “Double A” followed by two car horn honks then “M-C-O.” In case you’re wondering, the same folks that founded AAMCO also owned MAACO – both names are combinations of their initials.