"You're Fired"...not just Trump's slogan
Conflicts in business over catch phrases and product names have certainly happened before, but since this is news about Trump, I thought I would post this here. Enjoy!
Trump's trademark plan is under fire
Glenview pottery store fights back
By Ameet Sachdev
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 30, 2004
Donald Trump doesn't know Susan Brenner. He will soon.
The Northbrook woman could put a wrench in Trump's plans to trademark the phrase "You're fired."
Those two words have gained new popularity as the show-stealing line uttered at the end of each episode of NBC's hit TV show "The Apprentice." Last month, Trump filed a trademark application for the phrase.
As it happens, Brenner owns a ceramics studio and pottery store in north suburban Glenview by the same name. A friend suggested the name when she opened seven years ago, and Brenner thought it was a catchy pun.
But the name doesn't sound so funny to her now that Trump has lifted the phrase into the pop-culture lexicon and is trying to legally make it his own.
"Every person who walks into store now says `Oh you're copying Donald Trump,'" Brenner said. "And I say `No, he's copying me.'"
While she laughs about the situation, she's also concerned about confusion over the store's identity--a brand she has cultivated through hard work and advertising. Customers come from as far as Wisconsin to attend pottery painting parties at her store.
"I just did a mailing to 5,000 people, so we're not teensy," she said.
So Brenner took a page out of Trump's business handbook and called her attorney, who's drafting a letter to Trump seeking to halt his trademark plans.
"People are associating her with Donald Trump and want to know why she's using his mark," said her attorney, Marvin Benn of Much Shelist Freed Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein in Chicago. "All the money she spent on advertising, all that good will will be taken away from her."
One problem: Brenner never registered the name of her business with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
That doesn't matter, according to Benn, who says Brenner still has legal rights to "You're fired," particularly in the Chicago area and other parts of the Midwest where the store has a following.
Brenner may not be the only small-business owner with a claim on the "You're fired" brand. There are other pottery and craft stores across the country using the moniker "You're Fired."
Trump's attempt to trademark a familiar phrase that people use each day is not unusual. Other phrases, such as "Let's roll," "Shock and awe," and "Fair and balanced" are trademarked for a certain product or service.
Known for his gaudy casinos and unusual mane of copper hair, Trump dismisses underlings on the reality television show with a curt "You're fired."
The show has become so popular that Bloomingdale's began selling T-shirts with the slogan for $36.
In his trademark application, Trump said he intends to use the phrase on games, casino services and clothing.
Because Trump owns casinos in nearby Gary, Ind., Brenner said she is worried that her store may become associated with gambling.
A youth baseball team in the community wears T-shirts with her store name on the back.
"It's a really cool show," Brenner said. "But to Donald it's a slogan. To me, it's a livelihood."
This is too bizarre, cant wait to see what the Trumpster has to say about it.
He'll do whatever he wants to do and tell the woman to stop complaining. Just like he did over the sign on his building.
Mayhaps she'll attempt to "flirt" with him in order to win her lawsuit. At any rate, now she and the, er, unusually copper-maned Donald will have more publicity than ever.
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