John Brunner, who proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer and rose to the rank of Captain, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri as a Republican.
Brunner had apparently placed the U.S. Marine Corps logo on the back of his campaign bus.
However, the Marine Corp's logo is federally registered as a trademark, and the Corps clearly frowns on the use of the proud logo for unauthorized commercial or political purposes.
Here is an excerpt from the U.S. Marine Corp's Frequently Asked Questions about its licensing program:
I'm running for a political office and am a former Marine.
Can I use Marine Corps trademarks on my campaign materials?
No, you may not use the official Marine Corps Seal, Eagle, Globe and Anchor (EGA), or any other USMC insignia or trademark in this manner, since it might create the impression that your candidacy is endorsed by or affiliated with the USMC in some way, or that the USMC has chosen your candidacy over other candidates.
You are more than welcome, to simply and accurately state that you are a Marine Corps veteran, that's fine, that's a fact.
But using the EGA which is a trademark of the USMC, and protected by Federal law (please see 10 USC 7881) is something you may not do.
This is consistent with the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations which clearly states that the wearing of the uniform in a political context is strictly prohibited. Please see Section 11002(1)(a)(2) and (3) of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations.
The trademark issue had surfaced when local reporters questioned the propriety of Brunner using the logo on his campaign bus under federal laws.
In a statement to local news on Saturday, Brunner's Press Secretary John Sutter said "The campaign believes that the RV does not constitute campaign materials, but we will remove the sticker just to be cautious."