President Trump’s 2020 campaign slogan “Keep America Great” was used as a tagline in the horror movie The Purge: Election Year in 2016. The film’s producers chose the “Keep America Great” tagline as a play off of President Trump’s well-known 2016 slogan “Make America Great Again.” The producers of the The Purge film used the tagline on promotion material.
Depending on the promotional material offered, the producers of the The Purge film may have created common law trademark rights in the slogan. However, if the slogan only appeared on posters and other marketing collateral, then they probably did not create trademark rights because the marks was never affixed to physical good or used to promote a service for others. The producers appear to have not thought of the slogan as a trademark because they did not attempt to federally protect the slogan as their trademark. But that has not stopped others from trying to lock up the “Keep America Great” slogan as their trademark.
There are 12 pending trademark applications for the slogan KEEP AMERICA GREAT for a variety of goods and services ranging from baseball caps to bobble heads. Only one of these applications is owned by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. None of the 11 other trademark applicants filed their applications before President Trump. Because they did not file their trademark applications first, none of the prior trademark applicants have priority to prevent the registration of President Trump’s applications.
Nevertheless, their trademark applications demonstrate the importance of filing your trademark applications early using the intent-to-use filing basis. Let’s assume President Trump did not file his trademark applications first, the other trademark applicants could have created a few roadblocks to his marketing plans. For example, maybe the President could not handout baseball caps with KEEP AMERICA GREAT, or engage in some other form of marketing.