There are presently nearly 600 trademarks filed in USA that include the word “Trump” (which, of course, is not only a surname).  Approximately 175 of those were filed since 2015, two-thirds of which are now dead.

This is a staggering number when compared to 140 total for “Clinton” (either/both), 34 of which are still alive, or total 36 for “Hilary” of which 16 are still alive.  “Obama” only comes in with a total of 188, 7 of which are still alive, and even George Bush had 11 total.

Is your slogan really a product brand name?

If a trademark filing does not relate to commerce (to a brand), then it should be rejected due to:

  • “failure to function as a trademark” and “merely ornamental”
  •  does not contain the “consent of the individual” (whose name is included in the trademark)


FAILURE TO FUNCTION AS A MARK / MERELY ORNAMENTAL

One of the most common mistakes in trademark filing is to think that something you print on an item requires (or entitles you to) trademark registration.

A trademark is the unique word(s) / slogan / design that represents your business products or services.  Printing that trademark (brand name) onto an item (t-shirt, hat, coffee mug, pen, calendar, tote bag, key chain, magnet, banner, note pad, etc.) does not make it trade-markable.  It makes it advertising.

If I were to attempt to trademark my company name “E-Trademark Universe” for a t-shirt printed with that name on the front of it, my application would be refused by the USPTO. 

It is not only not required for me to trademark my name for a t-shirt, it is unlawful.  I did not make the t-shirt, and I am, therefore, not entitled to the brand name for that product.

Printing my name on a t-shirt is merely advertising for trademark services (not clothing), and because the printing on the front is merely “decorative” ...it “fails to function as a trademark”.


CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL

You can’t use a person’s name without their permission.  The USPTO will require a letter from the owner stating this:

“I, PERSON’S NAME, consent to the use and registration of my name as a trademark and/or service mark with the USPTO.”

Any application including any name not your own... TRUMP / CHER / STING / MADONNA / MRS-TRADEMARK when used in a trademark application will require the consent of the named individual.


HOW CAN I PROTECT MY POLITICAL SLOGANS?

If you are printing your slogan on items produced by others, then you have no right to (nor need of) a trademark.  A trademark is the unique brand name you use to identify your products/services.  A political slogan is not generally used to identify and sell your products or services to others.

You do, of course, have a right to express your views in public, and share that view with others.

If you have a design element to your political slogan, then copyright is a possible option.  You can protect a “work of art” by copyright, such as a unique drawing (that can be with your words).

A domain name registration is still a very affordable option, and you are free to register any slogan as long as it does not commercially harm an existing trademark owner (who might sue you to drop the domain name).

However, you don’t need a trademark nor a copyright nor a domain name to freely print your opinion on any item (t-shirt, hat, coffee mug, pen, calendar, tote bag, key chain, magnet, banner, note pad, etc.).

NOTE—this information is general for all trademarks worldwide...based on USPTO Reference 86973550.


 


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