In his race to US presidency, Donald Trump has already flared discussions amongst trademark aficionados by registering his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”. This time, Trump made IP news when word got out he registered the trademark “Central Park”, one of New York City’s most famous public landmarks.
Trump’s trademark registration dates back more than two decades, in a time the park had a far less glamorous reputation than it does today. Since then, Trump has used the trademark to brand furniture, chandeliers, pillows and even key chains.
A Trump spokesman explains: “Mr. Trump, over the course of his career, has owned and developed some of the most iconic buildings in the city, many of which … sit only footsteps away from Central Park.”
It is questionable whether a name of a public space like “Central Park” should be eligible for trademark registration. And if so, what the scope of its protection would be?
The city of New York is clear on the matter: “Nobody has ownership of the words ‘Central Park’. It is a public space, with a city-owned logo. When individuals or companies attempt to infringe on city-owned trademarks, we take appropriate legal actions.”
The city owns the rights to more than 200 trademarks and stepped up its efforts to acquire new ones and protect existing ones, including the city’s police and fire departments, after demand for their merchandise grew dramatically after the 9/11 attacks.
Trump will always be a business man. Americans should probably be aware that he is not going to trademark the word ‘America’, and let all Americans pay a license fee for living in the US.