And Of Course, The Attempts To Trademark 'Je Suis Charlie' Have Begun

from the just-stop-it dept

Last week, you may have heard, the main "rallying cry" in response to the attack at satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo was "Je Suis Charlie." That was all over the media (social and mainstream). On Friday, Roberto Ledesma warned the world not to try to trademark the phrase, noting that it would end badly and you'd be mocked and ridiculed for doing so.
I write this post on the off chance that anyone considering filing a trademark application for JE SUIS CHARLIE — or any future trending rallying cries — finds it, reads it and reconsiders. Here’s why:
  • The USPTO will refuse your application.
  • You will not get your money back.
  • You may be publicly ridiculed.

So don’t even try. It’s as simple as that.

It's a great article that goes into a lot more detail, including lots of other examples (including a few we've covered) about idiots trying to trademark "Occupy Wall Street," "Boston Strong," "Hands Up Don't Shoot," "I Can't Breathe" and various other "rallying cries." They all failed, and they just made the applicant look bad.
Applicants must also realize that there is no right to confidentiality in the information disclosed in a USPTO trademark application, including your name and address. The press may come calling. You may get trolled on social media. You will upset masses of people who feel the phrase is part of something much larger than any single person or entity’s business ambitions. They will be repulsed by your actions. I wonder how the woman who filed the I CAN’T BREATHE trademark application feels about all the negative attention she has received.
That was Saturday. On Tuesday, we get from IP Kat: BREAKING NEWS: someone wants to register 'Je suis Charlie' as a trademark.
This is in Benelux, so Ledesma's legal analysis of why this will fail in the US doesn't directly apply, but his analysis of why this is stupid and you will look bad for applying does. It still seems likely that we'll soon see similar applications show up in the US. That's what you get when we convince the world that every idea, thought, concept and phrase must be "owned."
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Filed Under: je suis charlie, trademark


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  1. icon
    haik (profile), 13 Jan 2015 @ 1:41pm

    Re: INPI

    Remove the "had lots" from the sentence for it to makes sense...sorry.

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