Obama Merchandising

Posted on Categories Intellectual Property Law

My very good friend and former colleague Eric Goldman has recently posted a link to trademark filings and merchandising related to President-Elect Barak Obama. As you will see, the various logos (as the one in the picture) are certainly cute and/or funny, as often it happens in trademark cases. Yet, these trademarks can open several questions as to the legitimacy of using the President-Elect’s name and image without his (explicit or implicit) consent.  What are the limits of these uses?  Should these uses be allowed?  Are they in any way offensive?  Can a third party prevent others from using the President-Elect’s name and image on competing goods or services?  Where is the line here between free speech and commercial use?  These issues (much simplified here), and similar ones based on many similar cases, will be, in part, the subject matter of my Trademark Seminar next semester. It will be, as is always the case with this course, a lot of fun!

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