Trayvon Martin’s Mother Reportedly Moves To Trademark Son’s Name and Phrases

There is a new report that the mother of Trayvon Martin is seeking trademark ownership for the phrases like “I Am Trayvon” and “Justice for Trayvon.” I have long been a critic of scope of claims under our trademark and copyright laws. Despite my sympathy for the family, I fail to see why anyone should have trademark ownership over “Justice for Trayvon.” Moreover, I would think that there would be a preference for unlimited and widespread use of such terms.

I fail to see why such a claim by anyone should not be viewed as categorically rejected as a common phrase. In this case it is a phrase that is part of political speech across the country.

The March 21 USPTO applications were filed by an Orlando, Florida law firm on behalf of “Sabrina.” However, news reports have the spelling of the mother’s name as Sybrina Fulton.

Should such phrases be trademark protected?

Source: Smoking Gun

46 thoughts on “Trayvon Martin’s Mother Reportedly Moves To Trademark Son’s Name and Phrases”

  1. As soon as I saw all the hoodies and the shirts with Trayvon’s name writeen on them, I told my wife the family should trademark his name. Not necessarily to make money, but to protect the name from being used by criminals. I know it is hard to imagine, but not everyone is interested in making money and the Martin Family appears sincerely hurt. This is just a “SMART” legal move to protect her son;s name.

  2. I need to update my previous statement. I did look online and found the police report from the responding police officers. I tried to find a reliable source for a link for the partial police report; I am taking this link from USA Today from the Orlando Sentinel. There is a link where you can go to see the partial police report:
    This report shows what was done from the arriving officers up to arrival at the station where he was interviewed by a homicide detective. You can see a description of both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. You can see that info was taken on the witnesses. I am not sure where the actual statements appear. I would recommend you take a look if you are interested. I won’t go into all of the details that the officer wrote; suffice to say Police did secure the scene and started a crime scene contamination log. Then attempts were made to revive Trayvon. Now, from what I have learned in class there can be different police policies and procedures per the individual police stations in the U.S. Some of the things that I would have expected to be done may have been done and we just don’t have the facts. Now I do not know if pictures were taken of the scene as the officers arrived. The officers called dispatch to have their Major crimes respond to the scene. Mr. Zimmerman was handcuffed and put into a police car; I am assuming they took him into “Investigative Custody”, which is not an actual arrest. I just found that the gun was placed into evidence! However, it appears they did not collect his clothes. His wounds were attended to at the scene; however, it doesn’t say if pictures were taken.
    I was very relieved to see that these procedures were actual followed. Now that being said, it is not clear if the crime scene was photographed, if Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries were photographed, if he was fingerprinted, and so on.
    I’m sorry I didn’t mean to go into so much detail.
    Now, the Special Prosecutor may have a lot more evidence if it was collected. We probably won’t know until trial. If Mr. Zimmerman is charged we will find out more about how much evidence was actually collected. It will depend on what evidence was collected and if that evidence will be admitted in a trial. There will be questions about contamination and incomplete evidence. That we cannot fix at this point. I am sure the prosecutor will be on top of this.
    It is hard for me to accept, however, Mr. Zimmerman is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I have my suspicion about what happened. I did speak with my instructor and ran some scenarios about what happened. I will share this with you, but please keep in mind this is my opinion and only my opinion.
    Based on the spotty “evidence” we have to go on, I believe Mr. Zimmerman was going to exit the neighborhood, when he spotted Trayvon. Mr. Zimmerman called the police to report a suspicious person as per the neighborhood covenant’s and the neighborhood watch program. The neighborhood covenants states, “You will add your “eyes and ears” to those of the Police Department. What you will not do is get physically involved with any activity you report or apprehension of any suspicious persons. This is a job of the law enforcement agency. Later it also states “Remember always that your responsibility is to report crime. Do not take any risks to prevent a crime or try to make an arrest. The responsibility for apprehending criminals belongs to the police department”. In the neighborhood watch power point from the Sanford Police Department one of the slides clearly states: Neighborhood Watch is….NOT the VIGILANTE POLICE, Work with the police. Be our eyes and ears, and Report suspicious activity.
    During one of the 911 calls Mr. Zimmerman is asked if he is following the suspect. He states “Yeah” and the dispatcher tells him, “Okay, we don’t need you to do that”. I need to recheck the full 911 call because MSNBC decided to edit what they played and took out the context. Mr. Zimmerman continues to follow Trayvon. What we don’t know is what Mr. Zimmerman says to Trayvon. Most of the time an actual trained police officer would probably identify himself and ask Trayvon if he could ask him some questions. I suspect Mr. Zimmerman may have said, “Hey what are you doing”. It isn’t hard to see how Trayvon may have responded, “What the H*ll do you want”? You can figure that this escalated on both sides. So Trayvon may have been “Standing his ground”, so if he attacked Mr. Zimmerman, I suspect it was in self-defense.
    Now, let’s keep in mind that it was raining or had been raining. How many of us when we talk on our cellphones look around, nod our heads, and he may have had his hoody up because of the rain and to be able to hear his phone call.
    We are just moments away from hearing from the special prosecutor. I am hopeful that there is enough evidence to prosecute the case. I don’t believe Mr. Zimmerman is a bad person. I believe he is a “cop” want-to-be and was overzealous in this case. I am Caucasian and I still believe that race does have a high factor in this case. This is my personal opinion. I don’t know if I will ever see in my lifetime that racism will be close to non-existent. I have experienced racism and it was not very comfortable. From what I experienced I can only imagine what the African American’s in this country have lived with since they were brought here. I grew up in Northwest Indiana, my husband and I lived in Baltimore, MD for six years. I am now living in south central Idaho. I am deeply saddened that racism is very much alive and well in this country. I understand about being afraid in the presence of a different race. I get frustrated with that fear, because we are all in this together, whether we like it or not. Why not try to understand and empathize with our fellow Americans. Maybe if we could “walk in their” shoes we could understand. I am not naïve enough to believe that we will all learn to “love” one another. Why not try to develop better relationships with our fellow citizens?
    Okay, again I apologize for such a long winded reply. I am watching the special prosecutor and I am encouraged by what is being said. Thank you for allowing me to share what I wondered about this case and that we have to look at the facts not the political, racist, emotional aspects of the case. This has allowed me to grow as a human being and see things from different points of view.
    Crystal Anderson

  3. Crystal I agree with you. Racism was immediately attached to it before there was the question of Zimmerman;s words. The fact that he shot an unarmed man should have been the first issue. If it turned out to be a hate crime then that should have been addressed. The worst part of this now, is that there is no way Zimmerman can get a fair trial. I am not a lawter but could that be grounds for dismissal if this was tomake it to court? How would all the pundits, in the news, and in the streets, feel then? I think it oculd result in civil unrest for something that m,any people brought on themselves by rushing to conclusions and judgement. Both men deserved innocent until proven guilty (and Martin, of course, did not deserve the death penalty for walkiing down the street with a hoodie.)
    My understanding is the law reads if you feel in imminent danger.
    I recall walking in the lower level of the subway, many years back, holding a big box so my hands were not free. There was no one in sight when 2 African American teenage boys approached me. My stomach clutched. I thought “Oh no” and braced myself to be accosted and possibly worse. They came closer, my fear intensified. I felt definitely that I was in imminent danger.
    “Excuse me, do you know which train we take to get to ( )?” They were lost. Under Fla. statute, and others, i could have shot them and been well within my rights.

    (A few years later I was approached by 2 white teenage boys on the street and no one was around . I felt the same fear. That made me feel a lot better. I realized it was teenage boys I was afraid of and not their race, sad but true. (and for both some of it did have to do with their dress.)

  4. Remove the political and racial aspects and look at the facts. I would like to know why general “police procedure 101” was not followed. Why was the scene not secured, pictures taken, witnesses separated and taken to the police station for actual/legal statements taken, why wasn’t Mr. Zimmerman put on a 48 hour hold pending investigation, why did the police not collect physical evidence from the scene (such as the bullets trajectory) and the suspect (Mr. Zimmerman)? Why didn’t the police take into evidence Mr. Zimmerman’s clothing and the “murder weapon”? How about the 9/11 calls? Allegedly the police called for EMS to come and look at Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries, he declined, and they have tape of the police cancelling EMS per Mr. Zimmerman’s request. Why weren’t Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries photographed? The Medical Examiner stated in the autopsy that Trayvon did not have signs of bruising, scratches, or signs of a desperate struggle. Let us remember that the job of the police is to collect the evidence and arrest the suspect. Once they do their job, we go to the next step in the process. It is not the job of the police, the media, and the public to try the case in the court of public opinion. Where can I go to get the actual facts? Not the facts as interpreted by the media. I have my opinion and my opinion is important; however, my opinion is just that, my opinion. It does not contribute to this case in any legal way whatsoever. I want justice. I could try to argue the facts as I know them, however, how do I know whether they are the actual facts? I am trying to make this case to my instructor, as he and most of the class that I am in, have already made up their minds. I too have very strong feelings about what has happened. I have watched the media coverage and depending on who you watch, you get things “spun” accordingly. I am currently trying to find the actual facts, so I can make my own decision. I am reading about the Florida statues to find more answers. In my research I found Professor Turley’s (this website). I have a great respect for Professor Turley and this is why I have taken the time to respond here. I am trying not to make any personal judgments about anyone (and ask my husband, this is a challenge for me). Thank you for allowing me to “put out there” some questions that I have.

  5. Anon:

    Isn’t labeling her lawyer an “idiot” without knowing if this is true, and without knowing the context if indeed it is true, a perfect example of your labeling of other commenters as, as you put it, “ready, willing, and eager to stand in judgment?” Thus by your own behavior maybe you can now understand how others can possibly misjudge others, too.

  6. After seeing the video of Zimmerman I wonder if he was telling the truth you can see his nose is swollen and the police looking at the wounds on the back of his head. Now hearing this I wonder if the mother is really fit to be believed.

  7. Lexie, Jeff or whomever:

    We’re no friend of Al Sharpton here but you’d think he ‘d get some deference because of the death of his mother. Also, I can’t help but notice that all of the objects of your derision share a distinguishing characteristic while, judging from your avatar my knowledge of Rudy G, both you and your hero share the opposite characteristic. What am I to make of that? Mere coincidence, I’m sure.

  8. WHAT!!!

    Zimmerman is half Latino AND has a latino look about him Not a honckey!

    is that a desi arnez kind of latino or a tony montana kind of latino?
    and wtf is a “honckey”?

    glen, you’re makin my ears bleed

  9. Wait a minute! Does George Zimmerman get any of that ? Fact is he suffer a beating his life is turned up side down and so far the Tryvon side of the story doesn’t hold water yet we give the parents “Black” access to Congress? WHY? The pictures spread across National TV of the “young
    MR Martin have been a gross misrepresentation by about 4 years –he was over 6 feet tall and 200 pounds–has been expeled from school for unexplained female jewerly in his posession- and drugs! Not your All American kid–and has ties to a gang! So he’s a gang banger–While Mr Zimmerman in his neighbor watch rightfully saw something suspious about this kida activity and asked him to identify himself–the kid jumps him and beats hom bloding his nose! and putting a bloody lump on the back of his head –during that time of the beating he shoots Tryvon!
    Now so far it started as a racist act according Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson / Black Panthers –turns out Zimmerman is half Latino and has a latino look about him Not a honckey! so they shift gears still demanding Zimmerman be arrest –even thow he was only protecting himself! Me Zimmerman is a outstanding person with many “BLACK” friends who say there not a racist bone in body! So where did the racist stuff come from! The Vigilante Hoodlum group of “activist or Terrorist depending on how you look at it and most importantly the liberal media who support and sensationalize these event without investigating the facts and or who lives they are ruining!

  10. Kevin Winberly:

    “As with the Caylee Anthony trademark applications, there has been a public backlash against this alleged attempt to “cash in.” Comments in stories such as THIS one (“Nothing like cashing in. I bet Al Sharpton helped her fill out the paperwork”) and THIS one (“grieving all the way to the bank”), made by the oft-ignorant people hiding behind Internet screen-names, show a) a lack of class, and b) a lack of understanding that these applications may be “defensive” and designed to prevent others from doing the very thing that Trayvon’s mom is being accused of – cashing in on the death of her son.”


    This is precisely what I was trying to say in my previous comment at 11:41 am today. Just because you apply doesn’t mean you will try to cash in necessarily. It might mean you are trying to stop others. Thanks for your expertise in this area of the law.

  11. Typo: the name is TRAYVON with an A.

    Suggested coined words and phrases:

    “Trayvonize” — to turn an event into the opposite of what it really was by creating and then repeating, as a litany, irrelevant, untrue, and/or simply meaningless issues and allegations, none of which cast any light on the matter.

    “Zimmermanism” — the act of retreating into wails, whimpers, cries, moans, groans, and gnashing of teeth in order to avoid punishment for a crime.

    “Sanfordating the case” — a technique whereby an official agency or officer excuses his or her misdeed by pretending (a) that there was not enough information to do what the law requires; and then (b) that everything was confusing and “murky” so no action would be appropriate; and (c) that all people are bad so that if someone suffers an injury or death, he probably should have anyway; and/or (d) that we all really should get along and not say anything bad about anybody so there can be peace in the world.

    “Riverian Rights” — the presumed right to kill somebody because they were wearing “kill me” clothes in public.

    “Standjergrounditis” — the social phobia that comes about when you have people approaching others, while afraid (that is the approachers are afraid) so that the people being approached (that is the approachees) can scare them (the approachers) so that they (the approachers) can kill them (the approachees). GOT THAT STRAIGHT?

    That’s all for now, folks. The meds are coming around, I gotta go.

  12. I have no problem with Trayvon Martin’s mother owning those phrases, because that all does not matter. It’s a stupid diversion. When you hurt someone, you don’t get to comment on how they react to being hurt. This woman’s child was killed! Should we decide she reacted wrong? If you don’t want her to react wrong, well hell, don’t kill her kid!

    The real issue here is that a police force did not conduct itself properly and in its misconduct, angered at least half of this whole country. In fact, this is a significant event for justice everywhere, for our future as a society. I believe that OJ Simpson killed his ex-wife and a friend and got away with it BECAUSE the LAPD needed a public spanking after the Rodney King debacle. If the case that should have been the “State v. Zimmerman” becomes something else instead, there will be a price paid, there WILL BE A HEAVY PRICE PAID. So really, who cares who owns the words? And who cares about profit? When somebody sues for wrongful death and gets a few million dollars off somebody else, do we cry “foul”? The homeless man who was beaten by the Sanford cops a couple of years back was bought off by them paying an “undisclosed sum” to him so he’d drop the case. WE ALL KNOW what happens when you mess up: you pay.

    If the whole country is messing up, or if the whole country allows the Sanford police to mess up and nobody corrects them, there will be a price.

  13. Who’d thought….. This is just crappy…..but, I suppose not all can make it in the industry…..

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