DALLAS – A supporter of President Bush is suing the Republican National Committee (search) and one of its suppliers, claiming they stole his design for the ubiquitous "W" bumper sticker logo in the 2004 campaign.
Jerry Gossett of Wichita Falls says he pitched his design for a logo to the RNC's supplier of campaign materials, The Spalding Group of Lexington, Ky., in 2001 and to the RNC in 2003, and was turned down.
But in early 2004, he says, a similar logo appeared on a Web site and he traced it back to the RNC. This month, Gossett's Rally Concepts LLC (search) sued in federal court, seeking unspecified damages for copyright infringement and conspiracy.
Tracey Schmitt, the RNC's press secretary, called the lawsuit frivolous.
Officials at Spalding did not respond to calls seeking comment, but a company lawyer, William H. Hollander, said in a letter to Gossett's attorney that his design doesn't meet the legal test of being "substantially similar" to Spalding's.
Gossett, inspired by scenes of firefighters raising a flag at the site of the World Trade Center (search), drew an American flag fluttering from a large W, next to the number 43 for Bush as the 43rd president.
The Spalding design reads "W '04" instead of "W 43," and is rounded, unlike Gossett's rectangular design. Hollander said key elements in the company's design had emerged as early as 1999.
Gossett says he is a loyal Republican and voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, but has become jaded by his experience.
"The big RNC against little me, there was absolutely no chance to win," he said.