Demstore.com in Court Today Over Obama Trademark Infringement
The legal battle between President Obama's re-election campaign and a Washington-based distributor selling T-shirts and bumper stickers with the president's logo continued today, as representatives from both parties met in a D.C. court for an injunction hearing this morning.
Obama for America filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia on June 1 against Demstore.com and distributor Washington Promotions & Printing Inc., which owns the site. The complaint alleges that Demstore.com has been selling items with the trademarked "Rising Sun" logo since 2007 and the updated "2012" logo since 2011 without permission from the trademark's owners. Obama for America holds the trademark for the Rising Sun logo and has a trademark application in for the 2012 logo.
The campaign is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the site from selling any more merchandise with the trademarked logos. In addition to the injunction, the campaign is seeking "an accounting and award of Defendants' profits; compensatory, treble, and/or statutory damages; an award of costs and attorneys' fees; and such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper."
According to the June 1 filing, the matter exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and court costs, although potential damages could be much higher. In trademark violation cases, the court can enter judgment equal to three times the actual damages. "Alternately, the trademark owner may elect to recover statutory damages of up to $1,000,000 per trademark in the case of counterfeiting," explained Lisa Lori, Esq., a partner in the litigation department at law firm Klehr, Harrison, Harvey & Branzburg LLP.
This is not the the first hearing between the two parties. Obama for America first sued Washington Promotions & Printing in October 2011 for trademark infringement. That case, which was filed in Chicago, was dismissed in January for a lack of jurisdiction. The June complaint was filed in D.C., where Demstore.com operates. It is nearly identical to the previous lawsuit.
A call to the courthouse found that the hearing was ongoing as of 1 p.m., and Demstore.com was still displaying products with the trademarked logos at that time. Stay tuned to PromoMarketing.com for more as the story develops.