Published February 08, 2011
Sarah Palin is attempting to trademark her name ahead of a possible 2012 presidential run.
The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate filed paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in November to register the trademark.
The federal office is seeking more information and examples of usage. The office is also seeking additional details for the application submitted in September by Palin's daughter, Bristol, a contestant on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" last year.
Palin's attorney, John J. Tiemessen, said Friday that he has six months to provide the information.
"We are preparing to respond to all their questions for both," he told The Associated Press by telephone from his office in Fairbanks.
He said he couldn't disclose the reasons why both applied for trademarks because of attorney-client privilege.
But Seattle lawyer Marshall J. Nelson, with the firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, says it's not that unusual for entertainers to trademark their names.
"Everybody's name is sort of their brand, and once it gets associated with goods or services, then it functions as a trademark," Nelson said. Once a name is trademarked, he said, it gives the holder additional remedies to recover profits and damages if someone uses the name inappropriately.
That holds true for politicians as well as entertainers.
"The fact that you happen to be a political figure certainly doesn't prevent you from identifying your name in connection with your products," Nelson said, noting that one of the earliest trademarks in U.S. history was granted to Paul Revere for his pots and pans — something that lives on today with Revere cooking products.
Both of the Palins' trademark applications state: "The mark consists of standard characters, without claim to any particular font, style, size, or color."
Sarah Palin listed usage of the trademark for a website featuring information about political elections; political issues; and educational and entertainment services, including motivational speaking in the fields of politics, culture, business and values.
In initially denying the applications and seeking more information, the trademark office noted that neither Palin signed her application, a requirement.
The office also said Sarah Palin's request under political elections needed more examples of usage rather than the submitted grab of a Web page featuring a news article about Fox News hiring her as a consultant.
It also is seeking more examples of usage of the name for the political issues section, other than postings on her Facebook page. This "does not show use of the mark as 'providing a website featuring . .' Rather the proposed mark merely appears as a posting name," U.S. Patent and Trademark Office attorney Karen K. Bush wrote.
Bristol Palin was thrust into the national spotlight shortly after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., picked Palin as his running mate in the 2008 race and Palin announced her unwed, teenage daughter was pregnant.
She has since become a spokeswoman for an organization that seeks to motivate young people to prevent teen pregnancy. Her trademark application cited motivational speaking services in the field of life choices.
The younger Palin's appearance on a panel discussing abstinence at Washington University in St. Louis was canceled this month after students expressed outrage she would be paid from student-generated funds.
Politics Daily first reported the trademark applications.