New York Mayor Bill de Blasio took a jab at Republican front-runner Donald Trump by wearing a red hat bearing the slogan “Make America Fair Again” during an interview Thursday on CNN, but he might have also violated trademark law in the process.
De Blasio told Poppy Harlow “it’s quite obvious that if you have a good idea in America you need to put it on a hat… Let’s see how this goes for my progressive agenda.”
According the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark is “includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”
Trump initially filed a trademark for his campaign slogan back in 2012, and has since filed additionally for a wide range of clothing and memorabilia over the past few months.
“If you hear ‘Make America Great Again,’ you’re going to think of Donald Trump’s promotion of all his political issues,” trademark attorney Josh Gerben told TheDC. “His lawyers clearly are trying to lock this phrase down as much as they can now that he’s got traction on it.”
Gerben noted that “there is a fair-use defense in trademark law” that protects parodies, but also said “there may be a little bit of a stronger case for Mr. Trump,” if De Blasio is using “Make America Fair Again” to promote his own policies.
Finally, Gerben told TheDC that based on Trump’s frequent use of the court system, “it would not surprise [him] if [Trump] came out and said ‘I think this is a violation of my trademark.'”
Since entering the race back in June, Trump’s iconic “Make America Great Again” hats have become one of the summer’s most talked about accessories, among both Republicans and Democrats.
Tom Brady has one. (RELATED: Tom Brady Wants To Make America Great Again)
Actor and former Obama staffer Kal Penn also has one.
Journalists at this film festival keep asking for my thoughts on Donald Trump. I think he makes cool hats. pic.twitter.com/RNwXQP6AOG
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) September 15, 2015
Trump’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.