February 12, 2016

Presidential Marks

President's Day is around the corner. It is observed for only 24 hours. But those who aspire to the oval office demand our attention every day until November 9, 2016. So let's take a look at the marks they are using to communicate with the electorate and the related applications.

Jeb Bush.

BHAG LLC (a company identified on Jeb Bush's financial disclosure form) filed an intent-to-use application to register JEB! on January 16, 2015. Below are pins showing the mark in use:


I like the Spanish variation (though I'm not sure it's official):


Jeb Bush's opponents criticize him for lack of energy, so it is unfortunate (if not symbolic) that since November 9, 2015, the application has been abandoned for a failure to respond to an office action. Maybe we will see a petition to revive after New Hampshireâ¦.

Hillary Clinton.

HFACC, Inc. filed an intent-to-use application to register HILLARY FOR AMERICA on April 13, 2015. Here is one variation of the mark as used on a bumper sticker:


Unfortunately, the application is suspended pending disposition of an application filed two days earlier to register the mark HILLIARY:


This latter application was doomed to fail since the applicant could not obtain consent from the living individual identified in the mark. Now that it has been abandoned, the Clinton campaign's application should move forward toward registration.

Donald Trump.

A person of extremes, Donald Trump has filed no fewer than three applications in his own name for the mark MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. The services covered include political campaign services and fundraising. Defying expectations, these applications are further along in the registration process than those identified above. They proceed undaunted, even in the face of the existing registration for the same mark used in connection with political action committee services and fundraising, which is owned by DTTM Operations, LLC.

They will be published for opposition later this month.


This sign greeted Trump when he visited my city last summer.

Bernie Sanders.

FEEL THE BERN PAPERS is the subject of a recently-filed intent-to-use application to register the mark for cigarette rolling papers filed by someone who is not running for president. This mark incorporates one of the slogans adopted by the Bernie Sanders campaign, as displayed cleverly (ironically?) on the mug below:


But there is no sign that Mr. Sanders or his campaign has attempted to register this tag line or others they are using. They seem to have opted out of the established path to trademark protection. This doesn't stop them from complaining about infringers. But, true to form, instead of emphasizing property rights, they may admonish the public that buying counterfeit merchandise means there is no guarantee it was made with union labor.

Each campaign slogan, like each candidate, has its own story to tell and faces its own challenges. It remains to be seen who will end up elected, and which mark(s) will end up registered.