Orange County – Days before taking the oath of office, Donald Trump filed a trademark application for the “Keep America Great” slogan for his re-election campaign. The slogan is intended to build off the 2016 slogan: “Make America Great Again.” This phrase, and particularly the baseball caps printed with the phrase, were central to Trump’s election.
Trump revealed his 2020 campaign slogan during an interview with the Washington Post. Immediately after revealing the slogan, he called in his lawyer and directed him to file trademark applications for “Keep America Great” and “Keep America Great!” Then he returned to the interview. The attorney obliged but there is little legal value in filing both since they are so similar.
“I am so confident that we are going to be [great], it is going to be so amazing,” Trump said. “It’s the only reason I give it to you. If I was, like, ambiguous about it, if I wasn’t sure about what is going to happen — the country is going to be great.” Trump’s trademark for the slogan was filed on January 18, 2017, and applies to goods and services such as advertising signs and apparel.
There are potential issues with the slogan, however. Trademark applications for “Keep America Great” and “Keep our America Great” were filed for apparel prior to Trump’s application. Also, the horror film “The Purge: Election Year” uses the phrase as its tagline. The film’s writer revealed that he chose the slogan in direct response to Trump’s 2016 election slogan which is something he should not have admitted since it is against his interest. For each application and use, Trump is likely to be able to show that his rights are superior due to his prior use and the fame of his trademark.
Trump began making moves to trademark the “Make America Great Again” slogan quickly after the 2012 election. The slogan was criticized by Democrats and the media, yet it seemed to perfectly encapsulate his campaign and became an effective marketing tool that gained in popularity across the country. His signature hat with the phrase even appeared in the New York Times Style section during Fashion Week.
Time will tell if America returns to the greatness that Trump imagines. The campaign slogan trademarks are part of the nearly 800 that the Trump Organization owns.