®OFLMAO on this one:
Sarah Palin, possibly the Queen of all media lately, has become an industry all to herself. Therefore Palin decided to protect herself as a commercial brand and filed for a trademark on for the name “Sarah Palin” on November 5th of 2010. The description of the goods and services that this trademark will protect is “Information about political elections; Providing a website featuring information about political issues.” There is however some bad news for the former Alaska governor. The US Patent and Trademark office examiner assigned to the application has sent an Office Action letter to Palin’s legal team stating the following issue with her trademark: “specimens are not acceptable because they do not show use of the applied-for mark in connection with any of the services specified in the application.”
In layman’s terms, the examiner seems to feel that the documents submitted to prove that Palin’s trademark needs are insufficient. Supporting documents, known as “proof of use” must show the applicant offering a commercial service. What her representatives submitted were screenshots of her Facebook page, an article from the Washington Speakers Bureau and a Fox News article advertising her as a contributor to the network.
Generally a trademark will only be registered if it protects a commercial use in commerce. The specimens submitted to the USPTO do not show that Palin charges for her services in interstate commerce, they don’t appear to indicate much more than the fact that Palin is famous. Palin has 6 months to respond to the trademark office to argue that the trademark is for a legitimate use in commerce.
Perhaps Palin has reason to apply for this trademark. There has already been a trademark filing for wine called “Sarah Palin’s going rouge rouge.” It certainly doesn’t appear to have been filed by Palin. Perhaps it sparked Palin to claim exclusive rights to her name as a brand. Speculation aside, there is sure to be more news on this trademark filing in the coming months, and we will be keeping a close eye on it.