Meet Robert Maresca: The Man Who Wants The Rights To “Occupy Wall Street”

Many people have watched the spontaneous “Occupy Wall Street” protests and have been inspired and moved to action. Robert and Diane Maresca are two of those people but not quite in the way intended. The Long Island couple has filed a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) application to cash in on the movement and claim ‘Occupy Wall St.” as a global brand name for merchandise and marketing.

I have long objected to the expansion of our trademark and copyright laws to allow this type of conduct, which is nothing short of profiteering and undermines free speech.

The application was made in Diane Maresca’s name at a cost of $975, but Robert Maresca, 44, has been out front defending their action. She is an occupational therapist and he describes himself as a conservative and former ironworker. He says that he was disabled by a stroke and seizures.

When confronted with the obvious lack of morality or decency in his actions, Maresca offered the world’s oldest excuse of despicable conduct: “If I didn’t buy it and use it someone else will.”

He did say, however, that he was disappointed to learn that a Brooklyn man had filed for a trademark for “We Are The 99%,” but felt that he could make more money off of “Occupy” as a brand. He has already inked some t-shirts with magic markers to start to cash in on the movement.

Source: Smoking Gun

20 thoughts on “Meet Robert Maresca: The Man Who Wants The Rights To “Occupy Wall Street””

  1. It seems to me that the idea of him using the name and selling the rights to OWS is not so bad. Yes he would make money but he is also correct that (assuming he is to be trusted Hmmmm) it would have the affect of locking down the name and preventing any other entity from using the name in connection with undesirable products or ideas or organizations that might destroy the reputation of OWS and confuse the public as to the trust they should place in someone using that name.
    The problem of course is that OWS is not an organized movement so has no steering committee to take the rights from Mr.Maresca even were he inclined to sell them for 1 dollar as he says.
    However, as previously stated, this is not a previously common phrase and therefore seems likely to be considered unique enough to warrant granting copyright to the name this may be a moot point.

  2. This is about trademark law, not copyright law. Also, Mr. Maresca has only applied for a trademark, he has not been granted registration. I anticipate that he will be denied registration by the USPTO for at least the reason that the mark was in use by others before he began using it.

  3. somebody’s tired of being the one of the 99% and wants to be one of the 1% and doesn’t care who he steps on to get it

    he should fit in just fine

  4. If he succeeds, he’ll probably be better off reselling the rights rather than exploiting them himself. There’s probably any number of right-wing groups that would pay for the right to harass the protesters with cease-and-desist letters.

  5. P.S. In academia, we are routinely asked to sign some or all of our copyright over to journals, even though we never FILE for copyright of any kind.

    And without permission from the original author, I do not believe Maresco even has the right to use the phrase on his trademark filing paperwork.

    Plus, I know that copyright owners can be selective; in the sense that they can let slide uses of their work that were not for profit or personal gain, but still pursue those that try to use it for gain. Lucasfilms may choose to not prosecute every guy that builds himself a Darth Vader costume, but that does not weaken their case against somebody trying to SELL Darth Vader costumes.

  6. I am not a lawyer, but my understanding of copyright law is that it is very liberal, in the sense that as soon as you have put the words on something, you own the copyright of it. Since the words “Occupy Wall Street” and “We are the 99%” were already seen in public, I do not believe anybody but the first user owns the copyright on that phrase. I do know there are requirements that it be reasonably original, but I think this phrase meets that threshold; it was not in common use before recently, to my knowledge.

    I don’t know who owns it, but is isn’t Maresco; and if somebody else owns the copyright, I do not believe he can trademark the phrase; since he cannot technically use it without the permission of the copyright holder. That is the point of copyright.

  7. I see articles like this one and it makes me want to trademark the word “ridiculous”.

    Woosty=^..^, As long as you leave “katz” to me I’m fine with your trademark bid, go for it!

    I like your Halloween avatar, I liked your “Hippy/Goth” one too.

  8. Steve Mancinelli, an intellectual property lawyer in New York, said legally, “you don’t get to own words because you think them up.”

    He said that the Marescas’ “intent of use” application would be approved if they have a “bona fide intention” to produce items for commerce.
    ——————————–
    isn’t this the definition of ridiculous?

    so what about all that ‘pre-existing’ OWS stuff?
    and to trademark, wouldn’t he need to prove that he was the author?

    maybe he is just what the world needs….excuse me while I go trade mark the word ‘Cat’

    🙂 (im gonna be sooooooo fiiiiiiiilthy richy rich……..!)

  9. New York couple tries to trademark ‘Occupy Wall St.’
    By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/25/us/new-york-occupy-trademark/?hpt=us_c2

    Excerpt:
    The move has some Occupy Wall Street supporters perplexed.

    “The goal of OWS is not to become a profitable business,” said Tyler Combelic, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman. “Anything that misconstrues it as such, such as trademarking for the sake of profiting, is missing the point of protest.”

    But Robert Maresca sees things differently.

    “I’m the best person they could imagine buying the slogan, because no one has their interest more than myself,” he said. “This is an important slogan; somebody else might have gotten a hold of it.”

    A former union iron worker, Maresca is now a stay-at-home father of three after suffering a stroke and sustaining a work injury nine years ago. He said he became a supporter of Occupy Wall Street once the union began backing the cause.

    “I’m also really against corporate money distorting elections,” he said.

    Maresca, who calls himself a “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” political independent, said his idea stemmed from creating shirts drawn with markers down on Wall Street. But it was his wife — whom he describes as apolitical — who filed the application because Maresca does not have a credit card.

    But Combelic said Maresca’s attempt runs counter to the Occupy Wall Street mission.

    “I think they are taking what is meant to represent 99% of America and instead making it represent an individual,” he said.

    Steve Mancinelli, an intellectual property lawyer in New York, said legally, “you don’t get to own words because you think them up.”

    He said that the Marescas’ “intent of use” application would be approved if they have a “bona fide intention” to produce items for commerce. It would take two to three months until the application is reviewed, at which point a separate “use” application will need to be submitted, Mancinelli said.

    Trademark privileges would give the Marescas’ ownership of “Occupy Wall St.” the brand, as well as the use of such text on merchandise labels.

    Mancinelli said he, too, was confused that “someone from the OWS gang, which has demonstrated anti-capitalist ideals, would engage in a fundamental capitalist activity, like trademarking.”

    When asked where proceeds would go, Robert Maresca said, “it’s my intent to have them (Occupy Wall Street supporters) get the maximum benefit possible after any expenses.”

    While Maresca said it was too soon to make any promises, “it is my hope to transfer ownership of the trademark to OWS if it’s feasible.”

    He said he would even sell the trademark to Occupy Wall Street members, if they wanted it, for just $1 — after they repaid his expenses.

    Combelic said he doesn’t think fellow Occupy Wall Street protesters will be too eager to don trademarked “Occupy” clothing.

  10. Of course he does….But the question is whether he’ll be able to franchise it….

  11. He is asking for government protection.
    a) why doesn’t the government laugh at him?
    b) does the government get paid to provide protection for Mickey Mouse?

  12. This sort of garbage has been going on for some time now. Phrases like “The final four” have been copyright protected by people who have no connection to the words but then sell them for wads of cash.

    Could a law br crafted to stop this theft?

  13. ” He has already inked some t-shirts with magic markers to start to cash in on the movement”

    I guess you have to start somewhere,LOL!!

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