Obama Campaign Wins Partial Injunction Against Distributor
Obama for America, the president's re-election campaign, has come closer to stopping a distributor website it accuses of trademark violations. The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. has ordered Demstore.com, owned by distributor Washington Promotions & Printing, to stop selling products with the trademarked "O" Rising Sun logo used in the president's 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
As reported yesterday, representatives from Obama for America and Washington Promotions & Printing met in D.C. court for a preliminary injunction hearing. President Obama's re-election campaign claims that Demstore.com has been illegally selling promotional merchandise with the Rising Sun "O" logo and "2012" logo since 2007 and 2011, respectively. Obama for America owns the trademark for the "O" logo, and has a trademark application pending for the "2012" logo.
The campaign claimed that it is being materially damaged by the distributor's website. Not only does the sale of merchandise from the official store go toward the president's re-election campaign, but those sales also give Obama for America contact information for buyers which can be used for fundraising events. Obama for America said it generated $37 million in the last election cycle from the sale of products with the "O" logo.
District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan agreed with the plaintiff, stating that Demstore.com's sale of products with the "O" logo harmed the campaign, and barred the site from selling merchandise with the trademarked image. However, Judge Sullivan did not go so far as to grant the campaign's full request; he has asked both parties to provide more information regarding use of the "2012" logo before passing judgment. According to the court order, each party must file more information on the use of that logo before the end of the month.
Steve Schwat, CEO of Washington Promotions & Printing, accused the Obama campaign of "selective enforcement," stating that many other companies are also selling merchandise with the trademarked imagery. The company noted in its briefing that the Obama campaign was aware that Demstore.com was selling merchandise with the "O" logo in 2008 but did not contact the company or file a lawsuit until 2011.