Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bearack Obama, Refused

I'm organizing my notes and files for my first trademark law class, tentatively scheduled to take place next Tuesday. I'm planning on building the lesson around the now-famous Obama campaign symbol and some campaign tag lines, as there's at least a dozen issues that one can build on, from the creation and search process to the claims of infringement by at least one entity that had used YES WE CAN over the last twenty years or so.

In doing this, I poked around the USPTO database and found a number of refusals for marks containing "Obama" in various ways, including BEARACK OBAMA, refused because "The play on the term ‘Bearack’ regarding the name Barack and the goods, teddy bears, does not obviate the commercial impression that the proposed mark is referring to Senator Barack Obama..." and an application for OBAMA BIN LADEN that was refused registration because it was scandalous, and because neither Obama nor Bin Laden had given their written consent.

And that's why trademark rights are accrued by use, not by registration, fellas!