Donald Trump may be an outsider when it comes to politics, but he is certainly not an outsider when it comes to business. Unquestionably he understands the importance of creating a brand and protecting it. Obviously, that’s why he filed a trademark application in anticipation of a presidential run on the phrase “Make America Great Again”. The USPTO granted Trump a trademark registration for this mark for political action committees service and political fundraising. With this registration in hand, Trump is looking to expand his trademark protection into other classes as well. Indeed, Trump has filed three additional trademark registration applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Although Trump received a trademark registration on his campaign slogan, it was only granted in the two classes mentioned above related to political activities. He initially filed his first trademark application for his campaign slogan back on November 19, 2012 long before he announced he was running for POTUS. How was he able to file for a trademark registration before actually running for president or using the mark? He filed the trademark application under of provision of the U.S. Trademark Act that allows one to apply for registration who intends to use a mark but hasn’t yet used it in commerce within the U.S. After the application is given a Notice of Allowance, a Certificate of Registration will only issue in due course upon submitting evidence and a declaration with the USPTO demonstrating use of the mark in commerce.
Another interesting issue that can be gleaned from the Donald’s trademark filings relates to the fact that two different persons can file for the same mark for different goods or services provided that the goods and services are so unrelated that consumers will not likely assume they come from the same source – so long as there will be no likelihood of confusion between the two. For example, when you hear the brand Delta, do you think of the airline or the faucet manufacturer? Both of these companies have trademark registrations on their brand. It works because they are in sufficiently unrelated industries that no one will mistake one for the other.
Donald Trump has covered himself here by filing multiple trademark applications on “Make America Great Again” in various Classes. Based on his USPTO filings, it appears he wants to protect his brand in as many areas as possible. In an effort to expand his protection, he filed in the classes covering bumper stickers, clothing, social media, and blogs. This expansion comes in the face of two other applications on “Make America Great Again” filed by other individuals most likely looking to capitalize on Trump’s branding. These applications were filed in the last several months covering goods such as lighters for smokers and audio/video recordings and athletic bags.
The Trademark Office will review these applications and will have to make a determination whether there is a likelihood of confusion with Trump’s already registered mark and any prior pending applications. Of course, Donald can always seek to oppose registration of the third-party marks based on common law use of his mark as well. Trump is known for his aggressing business tactics. It will be interesting to how he responds to the third-party applications.
Article written by DA Johnson. Connect with DA on Google+