99% Invisible -Episode 148: The Sizzle

The first trademark for a sound in the United States was issued in 1978 to NBC for their chimes. MGM has a sound trademark for their roaring lion, as does 20th Century Fox for their trumpet fanfare. Harley Davidson tried to trademark the sound of their motorcycles, but after years of litigation, they finally withdrew their application.

Right now there are fewer than two hundred active trademarks for sounds. A surprisingly small number, considering sound has the power make—or break—a brand.

Consider, for instance, the fajita. Specifically, the”sizzling fajitas”of the restaurant chain Chili’s.

– Read more on the 99% Invisible website

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