Trump Trademark Application Kicks Off 2020 Race


For the last few election cycles, the joke has been that the next presidential campaign begins as soon as the winner takes office, but now there’s evidence that the 2020 campaign began even before that. 

Donald Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20, but two days before that Donald J. Trump for President Inc. filed an application with the Patent and Trademark Office to register the phrase “Keep America Great!” as a trademark for a series of goods and services (application No. 87305582). 

There are risks to filing so early. To get a registration, an applicant has to show proof of use in commerce. 

“He better hope the marks don’t go through too quickly or he might find himself at the end of allowable extensions to file Statements of Use before he makes America great again!,” Lawrence R. Robins of Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Boston, told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail message.

If things go quickly, Robins said, the Trump campaign might get a notice of allowance as soon as May or June 2017. 

An applicant must file a statement of use within six months of the PTO's notice of allowance, but can file for extensions so long as its use in commerce and its statement of use happens within 36 months. That should give the campaign enough time to start using the slogan in the primary season. 

The Trump campaign already has one federal trademark registration for “Make America Great Again” (registration No. 5020556 issued Aug. 16, 2016) on a similar range of goods and services. 

There are also at least three more pending applications for the 2016 campaign slogan, but they seem to cover some of the same goods and services that the existing registration already covers, so they’re unlikely to go forward.