Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Another trademark claim asserted for political purposes

Paul Alan Levy responds to a C&D against a candidate for local government who is being threatened with claims of trademark infringement for using the city’s logo on his campaign materials.  As always, it’s a refreshing read. Of particular note, Levy points out that §2(b) bars registering the insignia of any state or municipality; the claimant’s registration is in the name of “City of Mesa Municipal Development Corporation,” for specialized services such as construction planning.  The registration did not claim that it was for a  city logo, and yet the C&D letter asserts that it is.  The PTO has apparently been construing §2(b) narrowly to allow some government agencies to register logos for narrow purposes, and Public Citizen questions whether this is a permissible interpretation of the statute.  To the extent that the registrant represents that the mark is in fact the city’s logo, Levy notes that §2(b) invalidates any registration, whether the registrant is the city or some other entity.  Given the claims made to the candidate, he contends, the claimant will be estopped from arguing that it isn’t the city’s logo.

1 comment:

Eric Goldman said...

Reminds me a little of http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2011/09/blogger_can_use.htm