Donald Trump Acquires Right to “Make America Great Again” Trademark

By Joseph Mandour on November 6, 2015

voteSan Diego – With a donation to charity, Donald Trump finally got full rights to the “Make America Great Again” slogan. The phrase “Let’s Make America Great Again” was first used in Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, but Trump has been using it for some time in relation to his 2016 presidential campaign.

Throughout the campaign, the slogan has been the subject of trademark issues. Trump’s trademark lawyers have been sending cease and desist letters to people that have been using the phrase in relation to apparel. Trump owns a U.S. Trademark Registration for “Make America Great Again” but it is registered only in relation to Political action committee services and Fundraising services in the field of politics.

Bobby Estell, a country music morning host better known as Bobby Bones, took notice of Trump’s lack of trademark rights for merchandise. So on August 5, 2015, he and associate Meri Barnes filed a trademark application for “Make America Great Again” for use in relation to apparel and bags. He Tweeted on August 7, ‘‘hey @realDonaldTrump, if you donate 100k to @stjude, I will give you your clothing trademark back. Thanks!”

Sure enough, at the end of October, Trump’s campaign wrote a check to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with the description “Transfer of Trademark”. The check actually came just 2 weeks after Trump had received a refusal from the U.S. Trademark Office to register his own “Make American Great Again” trademark in relation to apparel. The trademark office refused Trump’s application because Mr. Estell filed his application first. On October 26, Bones Tweeted a photo of the check, of which the amount blanked out, with the caption, “Can’t say how much the check was for but thanks Donald Trump. This check goes out to St. Jude. Have your slogan back.”

Trump’s campaign confirmed that they did write Bones a check for the St. Jude donation, and they now own the trademark. A Trump spokesperson stated, “We simply reimbursed him the money he had paid to try and register the trademark and allowed him to donate it to St. Jude’s Hospital, for which Mr. Trump’s son Eric has helped raise millions of dollars toward cancer research.”

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