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Hiram Monserrate's Golden Arc -- Defensible From an IP Perspective?

Former New York State Sen. Hiram Monserrate is anything but a quitter. Despite being booted from the Senate after he was convicted of assault -- though sentenced only to probation -- for slashing his girlfriend with a broken glass and dragging her around a bit, Monserrate announced that he was going to run for his old seat again.

And what better way to ensure victory than to use a proven campaign slogan? But Monserrate didn't think walking around his former Queens district chanting "Yes We Can!" would be sufficient. So he apparently decided to appropriate a reasonable facsimile of President Obama's campaign logo as well.

Take a look at the Obama logo, now used by Organizing for America, an organization that morphed out of the campaign once the election was over, and Monserrate's logo, side by side:


Organizing for America was none too pleased to see Monserrate unveil his artwork this week. The group has demanded that Monserrate cease and desist from using its logo. Monserrate, though, was quick to point out that while the two logos are similar, his isn't an "O," like for Obama, but, rather, a "Q," for "the great borough of Queens. And if folks had really analyzed it, they would have seen it."

I'm no trademark or copyright expert, but I've seen another Queens native try to explain away subtle differences between his intellectual property and that of a national institution. We may need a quick ruling on a TRO from Judge Carton ...

Posted by Eric Lipman on March 11, 2010 at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)


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