The current United States presidential election has created an ongoing deluge of controversial moments from both running candidates. However, it seems that even once the election has been settled the media will still be focused on Donald Trump’s every move. It is speculated in some quarters that the Republican candidate will use his own brand image, bolstered by the fame and attention garnered by his election campaign, to launch his own media station. The mogul has previously trademarked a whole host of products ranging from fragrances to oysters, all including the ‘Trump’ name. Thus, for his media station, it appeared that Trump had settled on using ‘Trump TV’ as the name for his new venture.
Yet, Trump will encounter difficultly should he wish to use the name Trump TV following the action of Dr. Mark Grabowsky who noticed that Trump TV had not been trademarked and so promptly filed for the mark. This is not the first time that Trump’s plans have been made problematic by the public. Last year he had to pay $100,000 to use his campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again’ after it too had been registered before he could claim the trademark. If Donald Trump wants to launch a broadcast network with his name on it after the election, he’ll have to get through an enterprising public health doctor named Mark Grabowsky first. Grabowsky, who’s spent his career working on wiping out diseases like measles and malaria, noticed while watching the third presidential debate earlier this month that the trademark for “Trump TV” was still up for grabs. So, on a lark, he filed for it. By becoming the first to apply for the mark, the lifelong Democratic voter staked a claim that Trump’s legal team would have to challenge with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a potentially months-long slog. However, it seems that if Trump wants to use the Trump TV trademark he will be able too since Dr Grabowsky has declared that he has no intention to use the trademark. This is something which will likely lead the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to decide against granting the mark to Dr. Grabowsky as trademarks are intended to be used in the course of trade and can be revoked for non-use. Trump would also be able to rely on the reputation of his name in challenging this application if he so wishes. Trump could almost certainly secure the trademark if he wants it. For one, Grabowsky’s declaration that he has no intention of using it will likely prompt the trademark office to decide against awarding it to him. And Trump’s fame gives him another advantage in locking down a trademark with his name on it. If the trademark office determines Grabowsky’s filing wasn’t made in good faith, the doctor would have six months to respond and could string that process out even longer if he chooses.
Trump, on the other hand, has a proven history making money off of his personal brand. He earned at least $9 million in 2015 from licensing his name, according to the financial disclosure form he filed earlier this year. In a financial summary he released last year, he pegged the total value of his real estate licensing deals and other branded developments at $3.3 billion, though independent appraisers have disputed that claim.
Over the years, Trump has trademarked a dizzying array of products and events with his name on them, many since failed or abandoned: Donald J. Trump, the Fragrance; Trump Vodka; Trump Power and Trump Fire (both non-alcoholic beverages); Purely Trump and Trump Ice (both bottled waters); Trump Steaks; Trump Style (a lifestyle magazine); Trump Steaks; Trump Shuttle; Trumpnet; and Oysters Trump.
Keywords: Donald Trump, Trademark, Trademark Infringement, Trade name, Trump TV, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.