Supreme Court says marketer is not entitled to a trademark for 'Trump too small' T-shirts ( )

The phrase “TRUMP TOO SMALL” stems from a memorable moment in the 2016 Republican presidential debates, during which Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., made a crude joke about the size of Trump’s hands.

“And you know what they say about guys with small hands,” Rubio quipped.

JeeBaiChow ,

That's great! Everyone can print them, then!

mozz Admin ,
mozz avatar

Just to clear up, he’s still fine to sell them; he just can’t trademark the phrase or stop other people from selling the exact same thing. The whole thing about RBG was that she also had a bunch of merch sold about her but none of it was entitled to trademark protection either while she was alive.

Eatspancakes84 ,

Doesn’t seem to be an SC case. Should be obvious that you can’t have a trademark that includes someone else’s name. How did it end there?

SturgiesYrFase , avatar

Because the USA is basically a reality TV show right now?

NoIWontPickAName ,

We’ve sailed past that and idiocracy both, at least in idiocracy the president was looking to find the smartest person on earth.

ricecake ,

I think it stems from his argument being not about what the law says, but about if the law is constitutional.

Very often things that involve political figures are much more likely to get a very generous interpretation of the first amendment, which is why you get stuff like "elected officials can't always block people on social media even with their personal accounts".

They claimed that preventing him from trademarking the slogan limited his ability to monetize it, and that made it a limitation on his freedom of speech, specifically regarding a politician. Therefore the government should need to provide explicit, compelling reason for the law as applied to politicians. Recently, trademark rules were shot down over first amendment grounds when the supreme Court found that rules saying you can't trademark insulting or vulgar things amounted to the government prohibiting speech in a way it's not allowed to.

With this ruling, they found that the rule in question is viewpoint neutral and therefore isn't the government disfavoring an idea or viewpoint. It's unbiased since it's based on (hopefully) objective facts about if people are alive or not, unlike "is FUCT a vulgar word" or "is it disparaging to name a band The Slants"?

autotldr Bot ,

This is the best summary I could come up with:

"This history and tradition is sufficient to conclude that the names clause — a content-based, but viewpoint-neutral, trademark restriction — is compatible with the First Amendment."

The court, however, rejected that argument, noting that living individuals have some limited rights, even in the political arena, to prevent their names from being branded without their permission.

The slogan appears on the front of several T-shirts that Elster sells online for $39.99, with “Trump’s package is too small” also printed on the back.

His application was rejected by the Patent and Trademark office, which concluded that Trump’s written consent would be needed, as required under a 1946 law called the Lanham Act.

The decision maintains the longstanding “living-individual rule” under the Lanham Act, which has governed trademark registration for decades.

Take, for example, the vast array of merchandise marketed on line featuring the image and sayings of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was alive.

The original article contains 508 words, the summary contains 153 words. Saved 70%. I'm a bot and I'm open source!

billiam0202 ,

Oh simple then. We're not talking about Donald Trump, we're talking about Fred Trump Senior. He's not living, ergo there's no problem, right?

Nougat ,

And I imagine that, by now, Fred Trump is much smaller than he used to be.

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