Now I have another Obama inspired trademark application to add to the list – one that I have yet to see mentioned elsewhere that I stumbled upon while searching on the PTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) for a particular design mark (and using TESS’ handy IMAGE LIST function) – this design mark application filed by New York resident Christopher Eastland (pictured below).
Nonetheless, the mark was refused registration – on the same basis as most other applications seeking registrations involving Obama – lack of written consent from the President (15 U.S.C. §1052(c)):
Registration of the present application is refused under Section 2(c) of the Trademark Act, for the record does not include the written consent of Barack Obama, the name of the living individual whose likeness is depicted in the proposed mark. Section 2(c) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1052(c), bars the registration of a mark that consists of or comprises (whether consisting solely of, or having incorporated in the mark) a name, portrait or signature which identifies a particular living individual, except by the written consent of such individual. A name need not be the person's full name in order to identify a particular individual. See In re Sauer, 27 USPQ2d 1073 (TTAB 1993); In re Steak and Ale Restaurants of America, Inc., 185 USPQ 447 (TTAB 1975). Whether consent to register is required depends upon whether the public would recognize and understand the mark as identifying the person. . . . The use of his likeness in the proposed mark would be construed by the public as a reference to Mr. Obama. . . . Accordingly, because Barack Obama’s written consent is not of record, registration must be refused pursuant to Section 2(c) of the Trademark Act. To overcome this particular refusal, the applicant must therefore submit written consent from Barack Obama, authorizing the applicant to register his likeness.
And it will probably come as no surprise that Mr. Eastland also applied for the mark COUNT BARACKULA (which sufferred a similar fate -- in addition to seeking registration on the Supplemental Register rather than the Principal Register and not reciting any basis for filing).
Another applicant who could've save himself $550 if he had just consulted with a trademark attorney first.
UPDATE: The shirts can be found at http://www.countbarackula.com/.