Trademark enforced at highest level: Others' use is no excuse

Iowa Intellectual Property Law Dickinson Law Firm Des Moines Iowa

Posted on 06/11/2012 at 01:17 PM by The Newsroom

President Obama's campaign, Obama for America, recently filed a trademark infringement suit against a Washington-based company for allegedly using the campaign's trademarked logo without permission. The campaign’s trademark is a “Rising Sun,” which registered in 2008. According to the complaint, Obama for America v. DemStore.com and Washington Promotions & Printing, Inc., 1:12-cv-00889, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the campaign sent several cease and desist letters without satisfaction. Obama for America alleges that the defendants’ use of the registered mark is a deliberate and willful attempt to draw on the goodwill and commercial magnetism of the trademark and the campaign. Additionally, as is typically plead in trademark infringement matters, Obama for America  alleges that DemStore’s use of the registered logo is likely to create confusion among consumers, as well as hurt fundraising by the campaign. DemStore CEO Steve Schwat said in an interview that he didn’t understand why the campaign was attempting to enforce its trademark against his company when “there are hundreds, if not thousands, of companies selling material with the Obama sunrise on it” without official permission. This age old, but unsound, “reasoning” is not uncommon. Just because others are doing it, doesn’t make it right!

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