Letting out an emphatic "Bam!" while seasoning your marinara won't land you in jail, but did you know that selling a skillet emblazoned with a certain celebrity chef's catchphrase could cost you?
Here are some trademarked phrases you may want to avoid using when hocking your own wares and services:
1. "Let's get ready to rumble!"
The often-imitated silver-tongued ring announcer Michael Buffer trademarked his signature phrase "Let's get ready to rumble!" in 1992 and has been racking up a fortune ever since. The Buffer Partnership, the company co-owned by Buffer and his half-brother Bruce, owns the trademark to the catchphrase. Each time you hear Buffer's voice utter those five iconic words, whether it's at a marquee sporting event or on Fox's The Simpsons, Michael Buffer gets just a bit richer.
2. "This sick beat"
In October 2015, Taylor Swift submitted multiple trademark applications to prevent the use of the phrase "this sick beat" on any merchandise -- including guitar straps, inflatable toys, beach umbrellas, and more! -- or or its use in any other recorded music without her consent. She has also gone ahead and submitted trademark applications for other lyrics from her songs, such as "Cause we never go out of style" and "Nice to meet you, where you been?", to throw a wrench in the business plans of any would-be Taylor Swift merchandise bootleggers.
If you're thinking about launching a line of kitchen products splashed with the phrase "BAM!", you should consider an alternate exclamation. American celebrity chef and television personality Emeril Lagasse holds the trademark for his signature catchphrase prohibiting its use on any pots or pans outside of Lagasse's cookware line.
The term "three-peat" is a portmaneau that refers to winning three consecutive league championships in North American sports and was cleverly trademarked by former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Pat Riley. Coach Riley first attempted to trademark the term in 1989 in anticipation of a third straight Lakers championship - a run that was eventually derailed by the Detroit Pistons. Riley cashed in handsomely on merchandise bearing the phrase when the Chicago Bulls (1991-1993 and 1996-1998) and the Lakers (2000-2002) finally managed the feat.
The Mockingjay whistle
This one's technically a trademarked sound, or sound mark, made famous in the movie franchise The Hunger Games. The character Rue whistles a four-note signal described by the US Patent and Trademark Office as "a human whistling a G4 eighth note, followed by a Bb4 eighth note, followed by an A4 eighth note, followed by a D4 half note, in the key of G minor." The trademark is applicable to a long list of goods and services including computer games, ringtones, and other pre-recorded electronic media not licensed by Lions Gate Entertainment.