Predicting success in his effort to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, President Donald Trump has filed a new trademark application – focusing on his 2020 presidential campaign. The new slogan: KEEP AMERICA GREAT.
The intent-to-use registration application for the mark KEEP AMERICA GREAT was filed on January 18, 2017 on behalf of the Delaware Corporation known as “Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.,” Headquartered in Trump Tower, New York. Attorney of record is Patrice Jean of Hughes Hubbard.
Apparently, Trump coined the phrase during in the midst of a WaPo interview. The following is a printed excerpt:
Halfway through his interview with The Washington Post, Trump shared a bit of news: He already has decided on his slogan for a reelection bid in 2020.
“Are you ready?” he said. “ ‘Keep America Great,’ exclamation point.”
“Get me my lawyer!” the president-elect shouted.
Two minutes later, one arrived.
“Will you trademark and register, if you would, if you like it — I think I like it, right? Do this: ‘Keep America Great,’ with an exclamation point. With and without an exclamation. ‘Keep America Great,’ ” Trump said.
“Got it,” the lawyer replied.
That bit of business out of the way, Trump returned to the interview.
One potential issue with the registration process is that Andreas Mueller filed a registration application for the same mark back in 2016 (although with a narrower set of classes). His registration application was recently rejected by the TM examiner (Doritt Carroll) for “failure to function.” Quoting the TMEP:
Registration is refused because the applied-for mark merely conveys an informational social, political, religious, or similar kind of message; it does not function as a trademark to indicate the source of applicant’s goods and to identify and distinguish them from others. Trademark Act Sections 1, 2, 3, and 45, 15 U.S.C. §§1051-1053, 1127; see In re Hulting, 107 USPQ2d 1175, 1177 (TTAB 2013) (holding NO MORE RINOS!, a slogan meaning “No More Republicans In Name Only,” not registrable for a variety of paper items, shirts, and novelty buttons because the mark would be perceived as a commonly used political slogan and not a trademark); In re Eagle Crest, Inc., 96 USPQ2d 1227, 1229-31 (TTAB 2010) (holding ONCE A MARINE, ALWAYS A MARINE not registrable for clothing items because the mark would be perceived as an old and familiar Marine expression and not a trademark); In re Volvo Cars of N. Am., Inc., 46 USPQ2d 1455, 1460-61 (TTAB 1998) (holding DRIVE SAFELY not registrable for automobiles and automobile parts because the mark would be perceived as a familiar safety admonition and not a trademark); TMEP §1202.04.
. . .
The evidence attached to the office action dated November 17, 2016, showed that the applicant’s slogan is commonly used as a counter to the “Make America Great Again” phrase, and thus functions to advocate for openness and inclusiveness, among other things. Because consumers are accustomed to seeing this slogan or term commonly used in everyday speech by many different sources, the public will not perceive the term or slogan as a trademark or service mark that identifies the source of applicant’s goods and/or services but rather only as conveying an informational message.
As a pro se applicant who is apparently not doing much actual hat-selling, Mueller may have some difficulty overcoming this rejection. I expect that it will be much easier work for Trump’s team.