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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all

Obamas slogan for the election is Yes, We Can ... He has t shirts with this slogan on it ect. Does anyone know if it is an infringment to use his photo taken from the federal gove website and use the slogan YES, WE CAN in the design on the t shirt. Has obama got a trademark right from long use? :confused:

I know its fair game to sell t shirt with a politial figures photo on it as long as it is taken from the federal gov website... but is it ok to use the slogan Yes, we can? has he registered it as a trademark? It would be like printing "just do it" without the nike design..it would seem to be an infringment :rolleyes: but anyone know for certain that it is ok to use the words YES, We can n a t shirt for sale?

all opinions appriciated.

Cheers
Adie
 

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The 'Yes We Can' or 'Si Se Puede' has been in use long before Obama started using it, so I'd say it's a fair assumption that he hasn't trademarked or registered it but you can always search the USPTO's website
 

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I would check with a Attorney to be sure, The Attorney's opinion is the one to listen too. We can all say what we think,but a Attorney will say what they know. ....JB
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bob the builder has been using it for years,
:p bob has indeed been using it...mmm is there any attorneys in this forum? or anybody reading this now who is a friend, brother, sister,father cousin of an attorney who could ask them the Q?

thanks guys
 

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If you don't want to worry about lawsuits, then take your own photos, draw your own illustrations, write your own slogans.

It is hard to profit long term by copying others, because you can never do a line with any staying power. You constantly have to scramble to grab the flavor of the month.

My advice is to come up with something unique that you can sell for years.

R.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you don't want to worry about lawsuits, then take your own photos, draw your own illustrations, write your own slogans.
My advice is to come up with something unique that you can sell for years.
fair point, but when you see an opportunity that can benifit you and also benifit others then it would be foolish not to explore it because part of the idea was in use.

I actually have created my own design and slogan which i have filed a trademark for 6 months ago. now i see that i can incorporate this slogan into it and thats why i ask the question. if it is legal to use then Mr obama will be the first to receive my t shirt:)
 

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fair point, but when you see an opportunity that can benifit you and also benifit others then it would be foolish not to explore it because part of the idea was in use.

I actually have created my own design and slogan which i have filed a trademark for 6 months ago. now i see that i can incorporate this slogan into it and thats why i ask the question. if it is legal to use then Mr obama will be the first to receive my t shirt:)
Definitely talk to an attorney. Even if he says there aren't any intellectual property issues, I wouldn't ever send a sample to someone that you are afraid you might be borrowing too heavily from. :)

R.
 

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... but is it ok to use the slogan Yes, we can? has he registered it as a trademark?
I was surprised at the answer considering the widespread usage and generic nature of the words but apparently the words have been trademarked and successfully defended.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I was surprised at the answer considering the widespread usage and generic nature of the words but apparently the words have been trademarked and successfully defended.
do you know who had successfully defended the words that had the trademark? any links to decision or case?

the words yes, we can ...have been trademarked many times for different industries eg banks, DIY shops ect.

Im not aware that the obama campaign has these words trademarked as it is to open ended...yes, we can ...WHAT? build bridges, better health care, change, ect it seems that it would be too open ended to trademark in a context of...whatever your question is ....yes, we can

any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
United Farm Workers have successfully defended it in court.
I seems that they more prevented aeromexico from registering as they had filed a trademark application for "Sí se puede" as apposed to taking any action from they using it. i think that UFW had been using it but not registered...they have not stopped or taken any action to prevent obama from using it!

this could be because obama is not using the slogan in trade, it is more advertising. it does not appear on his merchandise, there for he is not infringing on trade, maybe?????

anyone else have any opinion on the use of Yes, we can on a t shirt and the posibility of an trademark infringement?

cheers
adie
 

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Ahhhhh...I hate this subject as it's been bounced about here on the forums too many times to remember. Having been, unforunately, on both sides of the issue, in several copyright and trademark infringement suits or threats of suit, I'll give you some real information. That being said, as always, your own attorney may advise otherwise. Common language terms and phrases cannot be trademarked. For example, should a business with to trademark the term, "We do it better," they would be turned down flat for a trademark on that phrase. However, if you wished to trademark the term, "Joe's Garage, We do it better," you'd have a chance, but only a chance, of getting an approved trademark. It would be more likely if you were a well known national business, but even then it's at best a 50-50 proposition. Obama, or anyone, could not trademark, "Yes...we can." That's not even debateable...though I'm sure someone will try. However, if the trademark application asked for "Obama 2008...Yes, we can," there is an argument that could be made, and it's possible...note: possible...a trademark examiner might find cause that his name/slogan together form a commercially significant right of publicity. If a trademark application had been made, the protection begins at the time of application, if, and only if, the Patent & Trademark office makes a determination that the application represents a valid trademark. So you risk any commercial revenue you'd produce from the date of the application forward should a trademark be issued at some point in the future. Protesting another obtaining a trademark is not defending a trademark. Should there be any question as to whether an application has been submitted or a trademark has been granted, search uspto.gov. Another point to consider, talking to your friendly neighborhood attorney isn't going to buy you much. Our corporate attorney had to quickly direct us to a patent & trademark law firm during our problems. My suggestion is that you contact a local law firm that specializes in trademark law. My guess is that you could get an answer to such a question for a few hundred dollars and if nothing else you'll sleep better.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
great imput kpk703, its great to get info form someone who has been through the mill.

So i guess if they have not registered that slogan, then they cant really take an infringement action and from looking at the uspto.gov website, i cant see that the slogan has been registered in that regard.

cheers
a
 

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My advice is to come up with something unique that you can sell for years.

ENTROPY, YOUR STATEMENT CONTRADICTS THE VERY NATURE OF THIS BUSINESS,

ARE YOU STILL SELLING "FRANKIE SAY RELAX DON'T DO IT" SHIRTS?
 

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Common language terms and phrases cannot be trademarked
That is not true at all.

There are SO many common language terms registered as official trademarks, it's not even funny :)

Biggest example is "just do it" by Nike. There are literally 1000's of others. "Life is Good" is another.

If you successfully prove that your use of the phrase is how your "brand" is known to the general public, you may be able to register it.

mmm is there any attorneys in this forum? or anybody reading this now who is a friend, brother, sister,father cousin of an attorney who could ask them the Q?
It really wouldn't matter if someone said they were an attorney or said they had a brother/cousin that was an attorney.

If they "sure, it's fine" and you did it, you could still get sued. "but some guy that said he was an attorney or had a brother/cousin that was an attorney on this internet forum said it was OK" won't be a good defense in court.

You need paid legal advice or you risk a lawsuit with no one to defend you.
 

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Didn't Trump try to sue over the use of "you're fired" and he wasn't successful? (if memory serves me correctly).
 

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Didn't Trump try to sue over the use of "you're fired" and he wasn't successful? (if memory serves me correctly).
There's probably hundreds of cases where someone sued over a trademark a lost and hundreds of cases where someone has sued over a trademark and won. It's a risky game to play to "just guess" and hope for the best.
 
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