Trademark System Bias

Welcome to a series about the threat and impact of questionable trademarks.
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Make America Gullible Again

“Make America Grateful Again” is a registered trademark for hats and T-shirts (SN87587829). As if a typical consumer seeing products bearing this “mark” (decorating shirts in large print across the center of the chest) would be gullible enough to think it’s a “brand” and not a satirical political slogan. Please.

TM applications for “grateful” and “forever grateful” are pending. Grateful (SN88618325) has an initial refusal based on Likelihood of Confusion with registered mark 3956608 (incidentally, the specimen for the registered mark shows “Grateful” emblazoned in large script across the chest of a tank top; this is the sort of specimen that give creatives nightmares about how much more of the English language will soon be held hostage thanks to the current system).

Forever Grateful (SN88635775) was published for opposition on February 11, 2020. It’s likely to be registered as there aren’t many shirts using that phrase alone. Grateful is Category 025 (t-shirts); Forever Grateful is 025 & 021 (unfilled bottles).

If the registrations are granted, all the sellers on Amazon and Etsy with variations of the “Grateful Thankful Blessed” slogans on their T-shirts, hats, and coffee mugs can expect to suffer frivolous IP infringement claims and be forced to remove products from their catalogs. The print-on-demand community has seen it happen dozens (perhaps hundreds) of times before.

Registrations such as these chill legitimate competition in the marketplace and hinder small businesses. Sigh. Still so much work to be done at USPTO in the fight against questionable trademarks.