What will become of the Trump brand?

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

The Trump brand is huge. According to his financial disclosure for the year 2015, Donald Trump made $9 million just from licensing his name. Over time, he has trademarked products like Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, Trump Style and Trump Shuttle, to name a few, and during his campaign, he laid claims on the phrase “Make America Great Again”. With his rise in popularity in the lead up to the elections, the number of infringements on his trademarks grew. According to an article on fortune.com, in the last month, 13 applications for Trump-related trademarks we filed by unrelated individuals compared to the six that were filed in the 12 months before. The overwhelmingly supportive applications include YOU CAN'T SPELL TRIUMPH WITHOUT TRUMP (in apparel goods and services), I STUMP FOR TRUMP (apparel), TRUMP IT! (apparel), AMERICAS (sic) TRUMP CARD (advertising slogans), LADY AND THE TRUMP (shirts) and ELECT TRUMP FIRE WASHINGTON (political information) whereas a negative trademark for TRUMP was filed in Mexico under Class 16 for “toilet paper”. This is not a new phenomenon, there were nearly 100 unassociated applications containing ‘Obama’ filed during the 2004 election campaign. Nevertheless, they are a nuisance for the person, especially Trump, whose brand is so valuable.

Even though most of the trademarks filed under the Trump name might get rejected by the trademark office due to false association before they’re even published for opposition, Trump’s legal team has asserted it is taking a hard-line approach to trademark infringements. Alan Garten, executive vice president and general counsel for The Trump Organisation was quoted in saying: “any attempt by anyone to infringe on those rights will be vigorously opposed. Period. Our approach remains the same: while we appreciate the support of the public, we cannot permit the dilution of Mr Trump’s intellectual property rights. If someone files for an infringing trademark, we will aggressively oppose. The public is able to support Mr Trump in ways other than filing for infringing trademarks”.

This will concern Doctor Mark Grabowsky who recently and on a “whim” filed an application for the mark “Trump TV”. The democrat allegedly did it to create a lengthy challenge with the US Patent and Trademark Office for Trump’s legal team, seeing as he himself has no intention of actually launching a media venture. He joked “Here’s my chance to get Russian investment money, go bankrupt, take a big claim and not pay taxes.” While Trump denied interest in launching a media business if his White House bid falls through, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was recently rumoured to have approached a top media dealmaker about starting such a project. And the Trump campaign fed those rumours when it launched a live Facebook broadcast with the hashtag #TrumpTV. The stream which resembled Fox News attracted 200,000 viewers.

While some are saying such a hard-line approach could be harmful for the Trump brand, Mark H Jaffe, a trademark and copyright lawyer at Tor Ekeland PC, is wise to remark that “Trump has built a brand that has pre-existed him becoming a political candidate and will more-than-likely extend beyond him being a political candidate. Furthermore, Trump doesn’t care about negative publicity or if people suggest his lawyer is too aggressive, and his supporters have continued to demonstrate that there is nothing he can do that will change their perception of him.”

The best way to protect your company’s reputation, brand value and profits in today’s global marketplace is by registering a trademark and gaining trademark enforcement rights. However, just having the trademark is not enough. You would also need to police your market for potential infringements and then be prepared to act on them when they do arise.

For advice and more information on searching, acquiring, registering and enforcing Trademarks please visit our website, http://www.lipex.com.

Our unique database of trademarks for sale or license could save you time and help protect your brand.