Coming Soon To Stores . . . Palin™: Palin Trademarks Herself

Sarah Palin has made a name for herself as a reality television star and grizzley Mom. Now she is trademarking that name as is her daughter Bristol Palin.

Bristol Palin has a one-line resume consisting of coming in second in Dancing with the Stars. However, if you want to use that name, you will have to check with her lawyers.

It gets even dicier when you start to publish how The Palins Went to the Super Bowl. In advertising you cannot use the term Super Bowl now that the NFL has claimed it as a trademark. You must say “The Alaskan Woman With The Reality Show To Go To Big Football Game.” “Cheeseheads” and “Steelers towels” have also been trademarked, according to this report The NFL even tried to trademark the phrase “The Big Game” to snare people who try to make any reference to the championship game. The Saints have trademarked “Who Dat?”

Businesses have used trademark laws to slam competitors. North Face sued over the parody company, South Butt. We have seen Apple sue over the mere use of an Apple symbol.

I have repeatedly objected to our run-away trademark and copyright laws. Congress is complicit in this ridiculous trend of people and companies claiming the most basic words and symbols as their propriety interests. The result is stifling of public disclosure and creativity. Simply saying that this does not restrict everyday conversations is not enough –as shown by the litigation over Susan G. Komen For the Cure. It restricts a wide array of speech in the marketplace. However, Congress has done nothing to stop this abuse. It is ridiculous to allow terms like Super Bowl to be claimed as private property but U.S. laws are allowing the privatization of general terminology and a host of lawyers are threatening people over the use of the terms in commerce.

The true absurdity of our current laws is shown by the abusive litigation of Susan G. Komen For the Cure — an organization fighting breast cancer. Komen has sued public interest groups who dare to advertise that they are seeking money or support “for the cure,” ranging from “Bark for the Cure” to “Kayaks for the Cure.” While claiming to want to fight breast cancer in endless ads played on the radio and television, the organization is crushing smaller groups trying to raise money for a cure to breast cancer. The organization has reportedly spent over $1 million that could have gone to breast cancer research to sue other public interest organizations. It is a disgraceful “scorched earth” campaign by a group that has become a fundraising machine.

Actually when will someone in Congress step forward to stop this madness?

Jonathan Turley

Source on Palin story: ABC

48 thoughts on “Coming Soon To Stores . . . Palin™: Palin Trademarks Herself

  1. So no one can name their child Sarah or Bristol Palin in honor of these two, or even as a chosen or family name unrelated to these two horrid examples of humanity for about a hundred years, even members of their own family like maybe a Sarah granddaughter when Track marries? I’ll vote for that. The names would vanish from living memory in about 30 to 40 years.

    But what happens to the already born Sarah Palins, if they become personalities or authors or bloggers or want to open a Ye Olde Sarah Palin Shoppe they can’t use their own names?

    Plus are all the kids born in the last two years who were named in honor of Sarah Palin now illegal?

    Of course this is really pointless as Mz Moose Chili and her WTF (that’s Win the Future, so go wash your brain out.) spawn have so many widely recognized nick names that the copyright really isn’t going to stop other people from profiting from Palin family infamy.

  2. mahtso
    1, February 8, 2011 at 10:32 am
    Teen pregnancy a hilarious subject? Wow.

    ——————————

    Teen pregnancy leading to a gig on “Dancing with the Stars”, a Trademark name, and a 304 page book (memoir) – yes – hilarious!

    Doing WHATEVER to make money – even more hilarious.

  3. would this only effect the US market? i ask because in the UK bristol(s) are slang for large female breasts.

    if this is the case then whenever someone talks about big boobs she gets credit

  4. (I notice at least two posts following referring to patents and/or copyright, which are separate fields from trademark. Trademark is much easier to get than either but also has much weaker terms of enforcement.)

    Shire Nomad,
    You caught me conflating copyright/patent with trademark. Good catch. I really do know the difference, but wrote the comment not thinking about it and so was out of context. Please be charitable and call it a senior moment.

  5. “(I notice at least two posts following referring to patents and/or copyright, which are separate fields from trademark. Trademark is much easier to get than either but also has much weaker terms of enforcement.)”

    I do not agree that it is easier to get a copyright than a trademark.

    As I type these words I am gaining copyright protection in what I write. To obtain a trademark (or a service mark), one must either register with the U.S. or actually use the mark in commerce. (There may also still be some state-based trademark registration systems as well.)

    If you register without actual use, there is a relatively short time in which you must make actual use to preserve any rights (and I think you must demonstrate that you have a plan to make such a use). As I understand it, trade/service mark registration has substantial substantive advantages over merely using the mark in commerce. Registering a copyright also has advantages, but these are limited to enforcing your rights (i.e., procedural advantages only).

    In my opinion the Palins are smart to register their marks. And contrary to what ShireNomad wrote, if they get their marks registered they might be able to stop you or I from marketing Palin brand beer under a brand dilution/famous mark theory.

Comments are closed.