In papers filed Oct. 18 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Robert and Diane Maresca cited the potential of the phrase “Occupy Wall St.” to become a globally-recognized “powerful brand.” If protests continue to proliferate the way they have for the past month, that’s probably not too much of a stretch.
Still, plastering “Occupy Wall St.” all over various kitschy items (ranging from bumper stickers to, yes, footwear), as the Marescas say they plan to do, is about as averse to the movement as it gets.
Robert Maresca, who paid $975 to file the patent papers, says he doesn’t see it as knocking what people are protesting. He says he’s a pro-union guy who has visited the protesters’ camp on several occasions. But, he tells The Smoking Gun, he has a “practical business side” and “if [he] didn’t buy it and use it, someone else will.”
The couple reportedly hasn’t crafted any “Occupy” goods yet, save for a couple of T-shirts embellished with magic markers.
This isn’t the first time someone has tried to parlay the Occupy Wall Street movement into profits. Last week, an online store ripped off the language and aesthetic of signs a New York artist designed for protesters, and put them on mugs and T-shirts.
Attempts to spin hot news events into products are nothing new. Earlier this year, Disney found itself on the receiving end of a good amount of backlash after it filed for a trademark on “SEAL Team 6” just two days after the elite military unit killed Osama bin Laden. Ultimately, Disney backed off, possibly realizing the SEAL-themed TV show and snow globes they intended to make were a little off-color.
As far as commodifying Occupy Wall Street goes, it’s hard to imagine the people who might want to bear the “Occupy” message across their chests would be willing to pay someone for it. The movement’s chief focus is an overzealous, over-involved corporate world, and a business based on branding its message doesn’t quite fit.
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