Mama Grizzly and Cub Seek to Protect Their Brand: Sarah and Bristol Palin’s Pending Trademark Applications
Following in the footsteps of other reality stars like The Jersey Shore’s Snooki, Sarah and Bristol Palin have filed applications to register “Sarah Palin” and “Bristol Palin” as trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
As noted by Suzi Parker at Politics Daily, celebrities often trademark their names to protect their image or brand from others who might try to cash in on their likeness or use their name in an inappropriate way. However, political figures rarely attempt to trademark their name, unless they are seeking to prevent others from using it, for example, to sell shoddy, unapproved merchandise or “official” candidate memorabilia.
The “Bristol Palin” application was filed on September 15, 2010, which shortly predated the younger Palin’s recent appearances on Dancing with the Stars. The application is for “educational and entertainment services, namely, providing motivational speaking services in the field of life choices.” The international class identification likely relates to Bristol Palin’s role as an abstinence spokeswoman for the Candie’s Foundation, however, no example showing the mark used in commerce was attached to the application.
The “Sarah Palin” trademark registration application was filed on November 5, 2010. The international class identifications cited in this application are for “information about political elections,” “providing a website featuring information about political issues,” and “educational and entertainment services, namely, providing motivational speaking services in the field of politics, culture, business and values.”
Letters sent on November 29, 2010 from Karen Bush, the trademark examining attorney assigned to review the applications, indicated that no conflicting pending or registered marks that would bar registration were found for either proposed mark. However, there were several issues with each application.
The “Bristol Palin” application was refused registration because it was not personally signed by Bristol Palin and the application did not include Bristol’s consent to register her name as a mark. In addition, the application failed to include “specimens” that showed the applied for mark in use in commerce for the applied for class of services – educational and entertainment services.
The “Sarah Palin” application was also refused registration due to a lack of personal signature or statement of Palin’s consent to register her name as a mark. Although Attorney Bush found the screen shot from the Washington Speakers Bureau containing Sarah Palin’s biography to be an acceptable example or “specimen” for “educational and entertainment services and motivational speaking,” she indicated that Palin’s other submitted samples did not show any commercial use connected to political elections. Palin was asked to send other examples in addition to the copy of a Fox News Channel web page dated Jan. 11, 2010 featuring a story with the headline “Palin to Join Fox News as Contributor,” and a screen shot of her Facebook profile, which accompanied Palin’s initial filing.
Both Palins have until late May to submit the additional information required to have their applications reevaluated.