The 2016 presidential contest once again pushed trademark law into the news. A few weeks ago, it was the Democrats. Now it’s the Republicans. Well, sort of.
John Oliver’s late-night show aired a segment critical of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. In the segment, Oliver pointed out that the Trump family name was originally “Drumpf” and launched a campaign to “make Donald Drumpf again.” A few days before the segment aired, Drumpf Industries, LLC – a company created by Oliver – applied for a trademark on “Drumpf”.

The Trademark Office recently issued an office action rejecting the “Drumpf” application based on the section of the Trademark Act that prohibits the registration as a trademark of a name of a living person without their consent. But does that section of the Act apply here where the name in question is not a name actually being used by the living person? Drumpf Industries can still respond to the office action to support the application. What will they say?

Join Antigone Peyton and Jennifer Atkins as they discuss contours of the case and the broader implications of the application of the “living person” prohibition.

Photo credit: Alex Hanson