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Washington - Obama Campaign Committee Sues Store Over Logo Use

Published on: June 4, 2012 11:12 PM
By: AP
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This image obtained by The Associated Press shows the website of Demstore.com, which sells President Barack Obama 2012 re-election material. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is suing a website that sells T-shirts, bumper stickers and buttons with the campaign’s signature “O” logo, claiming the store is infringing on its trademark. (AP Photo)Washington - President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is suing a website that sells T-shirts, bumper stickers and buttons with the campaign’s signature “O” logo, claiming the store is infringing on its trademark.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Washington, the committee says Demstore.com is illegally selling products with two of its logos. The first is the campaign’s so-called “rising sun” logo, a blue “O” with red and white stripes at the bottom. The other is a 2012 logo that includes the “O.”

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Lawyers for the campaign are asking the court to stop Demstore.com from using the logo and award damages. The lawsuit says the campaign is being harmed by the sale of the competing items.

That’s because the campaign makes money from merchandise sales on its own website and doesn’t get that money, which is considered a campaign contribution, when people buy the items on another site. The campaign also misses out on a chance to get the contact information of people buying the merchandise - information that is used for future fundraising efforts.

Steve Schwat, the owner of Washington Promotions & Printing Inc., which runs Demstore.com, said he was disappointed by the lawsuit. He said hundreds and maybe even thousands of companies make similar products and that he has never had an issue before.

“We have always cooperatively worked with Democratic campaigns,” he said.

Schwat said his company, which is based in Washington, has been providing Democrats with political materials since 1985 and worked with the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore and Howard Dean, among others. He said state and county groups rely on his site, which supports only Democrats, to get materials. And he said those groups don’t want to go to Obama’s website and pay more. For example, a white T-shirt with the Obama logo is $30 at the campaign’s site, but a group that wants to buy in bulk can get 500 from Demstore.com at $5.49 each.

“I think people prefer to have the freedom to buy the merchandise where they want to,” Schwat said.

Obama’s campaign filed a nearly identical lawsuit against Demstore.com in October 2011 in Chicago, but that lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed in January. Washington Promotions & Printing had argued the lawsuit was improperly brought in Illinois.



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Read Comments (14)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 04, 2012 at 11:24 PM shmutzvesh Says:

That's Obama for you!! They wanna push the little guy outta business

2

 Jun 04, 2012 at 11:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
shmutzvesh Says:

That's Obama for you!! They wanna push the little guy outta business

I suspect for a self-described "shmutz", violation of copyright laws is OK for little guys. Unfortunately, the courts think otherwise and he will be properly shut down. Copyright infringement is mamash ganavah. Would you think its OK to copy the logo of this website or any other intellectual property but argue its "ok" because your a little guy??

3

 Jun 05, 2012 at 12:22 AM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #1  
shmutzvesh Says:

That's Obama for you!! They wanna push the little guy outta business

While that is funny... and ironic, the reality is that a campaign sells merchandise in order to make money for the campaign. That's why we have intellectual property rights. That is why you can't buy a CD, make 100 copies of it and sell them out of the trunk of your car.

It is like you opening up a store selling "Make A Wish Foundation" merchandise. People will buy it because of the name, assuming that the foundation gets the money. Or you could setup a stand outside selling Special Olympics tee shirts in Manhattan and make a killing on them... you would certainly see how that is stealing, so too is using the Obama campaign logos.

No matter what you think of Obama, what these guys are doing is illegal, and infringement.

4

 Jun 05, 2012 at 07:06 AM Anonymous Says:

better question is
who would buy this crap?
i still laugh every time I drive and see someone with a obama/biden bumper sticker on their car

5

 Jun 05, 2012 at 09:12 AM SherryTheNoahide Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

better question is
who would buy this crap?
i still laugh every time I drive and see someone with a obama/biden bumper sticker on their car

"...i still laugh every time I drive and see someone with a obama/biden bumper sticker on their car."


Oh I know what you mean! Thinking back to how we almost handed this country over to a complete ignoramous, one heart-attack away from being President, and almost gave away the nuclear codes to a woman who couldn't even name foreign heads of state, is TOTALLY laughable to me as well, every time I see a McCain\Palin bumper sticker on the back of somebody's car!

It's like... "Are you for real?!?!" LOL

6

 Jun 05, 2012 at 09:20 AM Liz Says:

You do what you gotta do when your campaign is strapped for cash.

7

 Jun 05, 2012 at 10:20 AM Yossy111 Says:

Reply to #5  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

"...i still laugh every time I drive and see someone with a obama/biden bumper sticker on their car."


Oh I know what you mean! Thinking back to how we almost handed this country over to a complete ignoramous, one heart-attack away from being President, and almost gave away the nuclear codes to a woman who couldn't even name foreign heads of state, is TOTALLY laughable to me as well, every time I see a McCain\Palin bumper sticker on the back of somebody's car!

It's like... "Are you for real?!?!" LOL

I suppose the McCain\Palin bumber sticker makes a point that the driver has no responsibility for the current mess since he voted for McCain. The Obama bumper sticker communicates the opposite message. The Obama 2012 bumper sticker shows support for further deterioration of this country.

8

 Jun 05, 2012 at 10:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Funny how the cash from t-shirts mean more to Obama than free advertising of his campaign. No sane person will buy a shirt for 30 bucks, but 6 dollars is reasonable. He could have thousands of people walking around wearing his message. what an idiot!

9

 Jun 05, 2012 at 12:48 PM zayin Says:

say the campaign wins...
it will take years before they see any cash.

by that time, the election campaign will be over. so who pockets the money??

10

 Jun 05, 2012 at 01:18 PM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #7  
Yossy111 Says:

I suppose the McCain\Palin bumber sticker makes a point that the driver has no responsibility for the current mess since he voted for McCain. The Obama bumper sticker communicates the opposite message. The Obama 2012 bumper sticker shows support for further deterioration of this country.

It would seem to me that both groups are deluded.

Those still driving around with McCain/Palin stickers are showing that they didn't care about the 8 previous years and didn't care that McCain chose an imbecile that made Dan Quayle look like Einstein to be his running mate.

Those with the Obama/Biden stickers on their cars are equally deluded. They are still hoping for some kind of miracle to turn this economy around. They think that just because Obama is the smartest guy in the room and is a "nice guy" that he can fix their problems. That is NEVER the case. Smart and likable does not mean problems just go away because we all "feel good". Nixon was a jerk and of lower intelligence and he was one of our nation's greatest leaders.

The only people who should be proud are those driving around with BOB BARR bumper stickers. We are the ones who realize how different things would be if talk radio entertainment hosts, and cable news entertainment shows weren't deciding our candidates for us.

11

 Jun 05, 2012 at 02:40 PM yaakov doe Says:

Reply to #10  
PMOinFL Says:

It would seem to me that both groups are deluded.

Those still driving around with McCain/Palin stickers are showing that they didn't care about the 8 previous years and didn't care that McCain chose an imbecile that made Dan Quayle look like Einstein to be his running mate.

Those with the Obama/Biden stickers on their cars are equally deluded. They are still hoping for some kind of miracle to turn this economy around. They think that just because Obama is the smartest guy in the room and is a "nice guy" that he can fix their problems. That is NEVER the case. Smart and likable does not mean problems just go away because we all "feel good". Nixon was a jerk and of lower intelligence and he was one of our nation's greatest leaders.

The only people who should be proud are those driving around with BOB BARR bumper stickers. We are the ones who realize how different things would be if talk radio entertainment hosts, and cable news entertainment shows weren't deciding our candidates for us.

I voted for Bob Barr because the other 2 choices weren't palatable.
Palin is not an imbecile but a very shrewd woman who has capitalized on her limited abilities and made herself a household name and a lot of money much the same as Rev Al Sharpton. They are both laughing all the way to the bank. Quayle is a true moron.

12

 Jun 05, 2012 at 03:09 PM am Says:

tell u what guys - it'll be a collectors item come November - 'cuz he's losing big time

13

 Jun 06, 2012 at 12:52 AM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #12  
am Says:

tell u what guys - it'll be a collectors item come November - 'cuz he's losing big time

You must be living in a parallel universe.

EVERY poll shows Obama is up.
Real Clear Politics (one of the organizations that aggregates polls from across the spectrum) typically has the closest numbers.

Today, Obama is at 47.5% and Romney at 45% nationally.

Obama is still ahead in FL by .3%. Romney cannot win the nomination without Florida.

I would suggest that you stop repeating the silly propaganda you hear on radio and TV and arm yourself with some FACTS.

The only way to defeat Obama is to start telling the TRUTH.... something the radio and TV entertainers abandoned years ago.

14

 Jun 06, 2012 at 07:41 AM SherryTheNoahide Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Funny how the cash from t-shirts mean more to Obama than free advertising of his campaign. No sane person will buy a shirt for 30 bucks, but 6 dollars is reasonable. He could have thousands of people walking around wearing his message. what an idiot!

"No sane person will buy a shirt for 30 bucks, but 6 dollars is reasonable."


Unless they cared about buying t-shirts from here in AMERICA.

100% AMERICAN cotton, thank you very much! (LOL) ;-)

15

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