The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently rejected Donald Trump’s trademark application for “TRUTH SOCIAL” because the name is too similar to other businesses’ trademarks, causing confusion to consumers.
CBS News and Josh Gerben discussed what this could mean for the former president’s social media service.
The rejection by the trademark office “is a huge roadblock” for Truth Social to protect its name, according to trademark attorney Josh Gerben, who tweeted about the denial on Thursday.
“Regardless of how big your company is or how famous your backers are, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will review each application on its own, and you can still run into problems if it’s not unique enough,” Gerben told CBS MoneyWatch.
The company can appeal the decision and has about six months to do so, Gerben said. But getting a decision reversed can be difficult, he added: “We do a lot of that work here, and I would tell a client that they have around a 33% chance of being successful.”
The USPTO named two other trademarks, already on the federal register, as the reason behind the refusal. These trademarks are for another social media app, named Vero – True Social and for a Christian radio service, named Truth Network.
Trump’s network could seek to negotiate with Vero—True Social or Truth Network, Gerben noted. But at the same time, the former president’s social media service is now facing a risk that these companies could enforce their trademarks.
“There are data companies that go in and notify the owner of these trademarks, and say, ‘Your trademark was used to block this other application’,’ he said. “The biggest risk is one of these companies could decide they might want to enforce their trademark rights and demand that [Truth Social] no longer use their name.”
But Trump isn’t known shy away from litigation, Gerben added. “The chances of them being super concerned about this is probably not too high given the client that is involved,” he said. “I don’t think [the trademark rejection] will deter Trump from using the name.”
Source: Picchi, Aimee. https://www.cbsnews.com/. “Trump’s Truth Social trademark rejected because name isn’t unique.” 26 August 2022.