The 17 Most Recognizable Trademarked Sounds

Diana Wolf

"Potato-potato-potato!" Know what that sound is? Maybe you don't recognize the onomatopoeia, but you must certainly know the actual sound. It's the "Hog Call," the rev of a Harley Davidson, and it's one of the most recognized sounds of one of the most recognized brands in the US.

As for "potato-potato-potato," that's the sound that Harley tried to trademark back in the '90s. In 1994, Harley filed a registration for a trademark of its V-twin engine sound. It read "the mark consists of the exhaust sound of applicant's motorcycles, produced by V-twin, common crankpin motorcycle engines when the goods are in use." Though it was denied, there are more than a few sound trademark applications that made it through. About 300, in fact. Here are 17 of the most recognized:

1. NBC's musical notes G, E, C played on chimes. NBC was the first to trademark a sound for its radio broadcasting services in 1950.
2. MGM's lion's roar
3. The song "Sweet Georgia Brown" for The Harlem Globetrotters
4. Tetris' "electronic Russian folkstyle tune," owned by Elorg Company
5. Intel's 5 note ding
6. "D'Oh" spoken by Homer is owned by Fox
7. The 9 bars of musical chord in the key of B Flat that typically opens a Twentieth Century Fox movie
8. Looney Toons Theme Song, owned by Time Warner
9. The spoken letters "AT&T" with a music in the background
10. "Cha-Ching," owned by Checker's Restaurants
11. "Yahoo!" sung in a yodeling style
12. Nokia's default ringtone
13. Mister Softee's Jingle
14. "Hello and Welcome to Moviefone," owned by America Online
15. The sound of the crowd & bell from the New York Stock Exchange's trading floor
16. TiVo's popping sounds (in 2 and 6 tones)
17. Pillsbury Doughboy's giggle

Can't you just hear them already? If not, head over to the US and Patent Trademark Office where they have each of the sound files ready to refresh your memory.

Be sure to check out more of what Diana learned today here.