The 2016 Presidential election campaign is in full swing and the world of IP law is not immune from it. But we aren’t talking about policy positions, we’re talking trademark and copyright. Last month, lawyers for the Bernie Sanders campaign sent a cease and desist letter to political satire gear creator Liberty Maniacs claiming that certain t-shirts sold on Liberty Maniacs’ website infringed the trademarks and copyrights of the Sanders campaign.
Unsurprisingly, the cease and desist letter and the cleverly worded response from Liberty Maniacs went viral and inspired a lot of commentary. So, are political campaign logos protected by copyright and trademark? Was the Sanders campaign right to send the letter that they did? With cease and desist letters and their responses going viral instantly, what can rights holders do to protect their intellectual property without engendering scorn from the public?
Photo credit: DonkeyHotey