Trump Campaign Wants To Trademark 'Keep America Great'

from the will-be-watched-closely dept

It appears that Donald Trump — or, more specifically, whatever remains of the organization that was his Presidential campaign — has asked the US Patent and Trademark Office (US PTO, which Donald Trump now controls, as President) to give the campaign a trademark on the phrase “Keep America Great!” for use on bumper stickers, signs, placards, pamphlets, clothing, campaign buttons and more. One imagines that they are already gearing up for the expected campaign slogan of the 2020 re-election campaign. Of course, as Paul Levy at Public Citizen points out, someone else had already tried to trademark that phrase last year, and had it rejected by the PTO on the (correct) grounds that a “slogan” can’t be taken out of the public domain and trademarked. Indeed, the rejection letter notes many examples of the slogan already in widespread use, recognizing that giving one guy the trademark on it wouldn’t make any sense.

And therein lies the big question: now that the PTO is technically controlled by Trump, will it suddenly now allow the Trump campaign to register that very same trademark that it rejected from someone else two months ago? Or will it (properly) reject it on the same grounds that the phrase is already in widespread use and a political campaign can’t just snatch it from public use and claim it as its own? One hopes that the PTO will do the right thing and reject this trademark application as well. Many of us will be watching.


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Comments on “Trump Campaign Wants To Trademark 'Keep America Great'”

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TechnoMage (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m sorry, but “being great” is NOT subjective. Just ask the number of children going hungry in the US, or the number of of people with lead in their drinking water…

The Newsroom “America is not the greatest country in the world anymore” 2012 TV series

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It would be if you just got rid of the partisan pattycake game that keeps the nation divided. Then you’d be able to take a commonsense, evidence-based approach to your problems, resolve them, then be all smug about it on the world stage. And everyone would be too busy following your lead to be resentful about it.

A girl can dream.

Hmm… can I trademark that for use on stickers, buttons, etc.?

Meanwhile, isn’t as dodgy as hell, and therefore illegal, to milk public office like that? He’s like Scrooge McDuck already with wealth, how much more does Trump need?

I.T. Guy says:

Re: Re:

“ive read techdirt for a long time”

Then you SHOULD know this is the EXACT thing TD covers.

“Out of all the tech dirt to come out during the election that didnt cover.”
Like what? Citation needed.

Tell us oh cranky one… What would you like to see more or less of?

Done be shy bruh.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ahhh Trump – the fuckstick just took office and I’ve been laughing like hell every single day. I haven’t had this much to laugh about since Bush II. I’m not going to be able to take much more of this – he’s just so patently stupid, that the jokes write themselves.

That he’d use a phrase from The Purge: Election year is beyond priceless:

Oh Trump, you big twatwaffle, you – "I’m laughing at the superior intellect." – James Kirk

bookwallah (profile) says:

Re: laughing like hell

One of the Walpoles wisely said that “Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think.” I too am immensely amused by Trump, not the first time I have agreed with Anonymous Coward. But in my more lucid moments I try to remember that his buffoonery will immiserate, and maybe cause the death of, countless human beings (and animals, given the likely end of factory-farming animal protection regulations). Now I am off to see what this The Purge is.

Anonymous Coward says:


Hmmm….Keep America Great would be #kag for short.

Urban dictionary offers these few definitions of kag that I found completely appropriate:


To trip someone quickly and make them fall to the ground. To sweep the leg. Possibly used exclusively in a ghetto in West Alabama.

Trying to register something that was already denied kagged that dude up!

or….even better:


A disgusting being; rude and hated; found disturbing and ugly; hated and unwanted; considered socially awkward.

The orange, small-handed man was considered a kag to all the other children.

Maybe the PTO should reconsider just because it would be fucking funny as hell?

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Great Again?

I know you’re joking and I’m reading way too much into it, but:

Trademarks can lapse without becoming generic, and somebody else can buy a lapsed trademark. Marvel Comics, for example, launched several superheroes in the 1960’s who had the same name as superheroes who had previously been published by now-defunct competitors, the most famous of which are probably Captain Marvel and Daredevil.

That said, though, I’m pretty skeptical that “keep America great” can be trademarked. Then again, McDonald’s has a trademark on “Smile” and Microsoft has a trademark on “Windows”, so obviously the law doesn’t always line up with my personal opinion on what is and isn’t a generic term.

Anonymous Coward says:

pre-emptive sloganeering

Was not Mr Trump’s campaign slogan to "Make America Great Again"?

Keeping it great, and making it great again presuppose contradictory propositions.

"Make X great Again" presupposes that X is no longer great, and needs to be made great again.

"Keep X great", on the contrary, presupposes that X is currently great.

It is a retort to "Make X great again".

Mr Trump’s campaign cannot coherently lay claim to a slogan that rejects the foundation of their own primary slogan.

How they would use such a claim, were it granted, to pre-empt its use by their critics, is pretty obvious.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: pre-emptive sloganeering

Or else is presuming that it will have become great (again) by the time he wants to use the phrase he’s currently attempting to trademark.

Given that he apparently trademarked “Make America Great Again” shortly after Obama’s (second?) election victory, the idea that this is preparatory for the 2020 campaign is not at all implausible, and it would make perfect sense in that context.

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