California Intellectual Property Blog


Journalist Group Files Trademark for Fake News so Trump Can’t Use it

San Diego – A Florida-based chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists has attempted to trademark the term “Fake News” to stop President Donald Trump from using it. The apparent concern is that the term has been used to discredit legitimate news stories and demean journalists.

There has been a general distrust directed toward the field of journalism since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency. A spike was seen in these behaviors when Donald Trump began making claims about “Fake News” indiscriminately. Since Donald Trump has taken over as President, the website was launched to track all of the comments made by President Trump. When looking through this database, it shows that President Trump has used the term “Fake News” in his comments and tweets to the public over 1,200 times. Many news outlets believe that their reputation and with the American public has become stained due to repeated use of the term.

As the frequency of Donald Trump using the phrase “Fake News” has increased, it has altered the way people perceive the news. In fact, trust between the media and their audience is currently at an all-time low. The Society of Professional Journalists sheds light on what happens in the industry of journalism when journalists provide stories that are inaccurate. Journalists have strict standards that they follow regarding honesty and using verifiable sources to create their publications or risk facing extreme consequences, such as losing their jobs and being blacklisted in the industry.

While the Society of Professional Journalists is unsure of the decision that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will have on the trademark application, they have already begun protecting the term that they are attempting to trademark with cease and desist letters. The cease and desist letters have been sent directly to President Trump and others. Their hope is that President Trump will no longer use the term to disparage the media.

A search at the trademark office shows that there are currently five separate “Fake News” trademark applications pending. However, regardless of whether the trademark registers, the journalist group has little chance of successfully preventing anyone from using the term Fake News to describe news stories because such use is not a trademark use.


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