Showing posts with label President Obama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label President Obama. Show all posts

Monday, October 7, 2013

Can "ObamaCare" Be Legally Trademarked?

President Obama Signs "ObamaCare" Into Law in 2010
In the last several months, numerous formal trademark applications have been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark to attempt to own the term "ObamaCare."

Some were applications filed by insurers or HR professionals, whereas others were filed by opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which has been dubbed "ObamaCare" ever since its passage in 2010.

For example, the "ObamaCare Calculator" trademark application was filed in August 2013 by Trendsetter, a Texas-based human resources firm.  Meanwhile, "ObamaCare.  Run for your Life," a proposed trademark for sports clothing was also filed, but quickly abandoned.

As reported today by the Wall Street Journal, one of the more controversial applications was filed in July of this year for "Destroy ObamaCare" t-shirts, being sold by a New Orleans-based attorney.  In an interview, the lawyer said that he doesn't "really have a particular desire to see ObamaCare destroyed or saved."  In fact, he has been busy applying for a trademark for "Save ObamaCare" for t-shirts.

The legal problem with all of these trademarks is that they use a living person's name (namely, the sitting President's) without his express written consent.  In recent years, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has blocked a number of registrations featuring the President's name, including "Obama Pajama", on this basis.

Therefore, it appears highly unlikely that anyone will be able to legally trademark "ObamaCare," at least in the United States.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

President Obama's "IP Czar" Steps Down After Four Successful Years

Victoria Espinel, President Obama's "IP Czar," has stepped down from her role four years after she was confirmed by the Senate as the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator.

Until the President nominates a successor who is confirmed by the Senate, Howard Shelanski, the administrator of the office of information and regulatory affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, will serve as acting IP coordinator.

Espinel's position had been created by the Pro-IP Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008.  The position was intended to serve as a liaison and coordinator for the wide variety of federal, state and local agencies involved in intellectual property matters.  

Espinel's efforts to improve coordination of law enforcement efforts and private-public partnerships were uniformly lauded by stakeholders including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, labor unions and consumer groups.  In the most recent 2013 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, Espinel had been a proponent of strengthening IP enforcement through international coordination and encouraging "best practices" by intermediaries such as search engines, advertisers and payment processors.