New American President Barack Obama brought some people to develop businesses around his name, image, or his famous campaign signature above.
The number of T- shirts, pins, mugs and others items with his effigy, domain names with his name, even trademarks in the United States and in Europe have –sometimes fraudulently – increased.
The business attractive slogan « Yes We Can » was adopted by many companies which started using it as a base line, trademarks and domain names.
In the United States, 11 trademarks YES WE CAN exist for various goods or services. Only 3 of them were filed after November 4, 2008 (2 for clothes, including one in the name of Audigier group, and another in class 3 for perfumes).
In France, 4 trademarks YES WE CAN were filed between November 5 and November 13 for entertainment services, clothes, cosmetics, or advertising services inter lia. Only one identical Community trademark was filed after November 4 for clothes. None belong to owners connected with President Obama.
All main domain names yeswecan or yes-we-can (.fr, .us, .com, .net, .biz, .eu, etc) are already registered but not used. None of them is linked to Obama.
Even though we can wonder whether “Yes We Can” could be protected by copyright, the choice of President Obama’s staff is clearly to let this official message to be widespread as widely as possible.
More surprising is the use made about Obama’s name by individuals or companies without any link with Barack Obama.
A review of US trademarks filed shows some BEARAK OBAMA for a bear toy, BROCCOLI OBAMA for vegetables, OB-LA-DI OB-LA-DA O-BA-MA and OBAMA-SELF for t-shirts, and even a real BARACK OBAMA in class 25.
In France, two individuals registered Obama’s name for products such as chemicals, paints, pharmaceuticals, vehicles, beverages, jewelry, cosmetics, toys, and clothes…
In Europe, Mr Odenbach, a German citizen, filed a trademark for OBAMANIPULATION.COM Oppression, Brainwashing, Avoidance and Manipulation, OBAMACHINE in classes 25, 41 and 42, and an Italian natural filed a OBAMANIAC in classes 8, 25 and 28.
The domain names situation is even more remarkable. Only barackobama.com and barack-obama.fr seem to be registered by the association Obama for America and linked to the Official website of Mr. Obama. Neither barack-obama.com, nor barack-obama.us, barackobama.us, barack-obama.eu are linked to the Official website.
We doubt of the utility to develop a strong defense strategy for countries other than the US. But above the unjustified use of his name for commercial products / services, President Obama should consider his name filed in association with denigrating terms and this justifies a strong intellectual property defense strategy.