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Old 03-19-2004, 07:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
The Griffin
Hanxter's Avatar

Trump bags 'You're fired' pay-off line

US billionaire and property tycoon Donald Trump is set to copyright the phrase 'You're fired!'

T-shirts with the words, You're Fired, written across them have already gone on sale at the famous New York department store, Bloomingdales.

So he has filed a request with the US Patent and Trademark Office that companies be banned from using the catchphrase on any merchandise without his permission.

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Old 03-19-2004, 09:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
Getting it.
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Location: Lion City
That's just ridiculous.
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Old 03-19-2004, 09:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
Talk nerdy to me
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Location: Flint, MI
I don't think so. They are trying to capitalize on his show without him getting any of the profits. He is just trying to make sure that he controls the merchandising of the show that he is executive producer of.


Bloomingdales: Oooh there's a new catch phrase out, lets make some money off of it.

Trump: You're fired

sorry, couldn't help myself.
I reject your reality, and substitute my own

-- Adam Savage
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Old 03-19-2004, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
Fly em straight!
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Location: Above and Beyond
Is there no end to the madness???

Seriously, Trump is either really smart for capitalizing on the catch phrase, or he is a real dumbass for capitalizing on the catch phrase.

-Homer Simpson
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Old 03-19-2004, 09:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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the smileyface is copyrighted.

Shit Happens is copyrighted.

"big johnson" is copyrighted.

Why can't "you're fired" be copyrighted. why would trump want to spend all the money required to develop this line of merchandise only to have some asshole make cheap knockoffs and then undersell him?
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Old 03-19-2004, 10:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
The Cover Doesn't Match The Book
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Location: in a van down by the river
you know...you're suppose to send some shmuck a check everytime you sing "happy birthday" too....
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Old 03-19-2004, 10:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Orlando, FL
Originally posted by cnor
you know...you're suppose to send some shmuck a check everytime you sing "happy birthday" too....
That's true...I don't think "Happy Birthday" is public domain yet.
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Old 03-19-2004, 11:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
is you wicked?
Location: I live in a giant bucket.
I have a friend who used to randomly tell people they were fired all the time. He should have trademarked it back then. What the hell was he thinking?

I'm going to have to start trademarking every little thing I say more than once a day. That way when it becomes a hugely popular catch phrase I'll sell my rights for thousands of dollars.

I was yelling "WHAAAAATT?" years ago, before Dave Chapelle did the Lil' Jon sketch on his show. Lately everytime I go out I hear at least one person yell it. Now it's already so annoying I die a little inside everytime I hear it.
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Old 03-19-2004, 02:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
Deliberately unfocused
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Location: Amazon.com and CDBaby
Unfortunately, I've had opportunity to use the phrase way too much lately.

It's been about three weeks, actually. **looks around the store ominously**
"Regret can be a harder pill to swallow than failure .With failure you at least know you gave it a chance..." David Howard
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Old 03-19-2004, 03:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
Ok, folks, here's the deal on this, and it ain't as bad as you think...

Trump isn't trying to copyright "you're fired" he's trying to trademark it. There is a HUGE difference.

A copyright is a right of authorship and it means people can't copy from you. If he were to copyright the phrase "you're fired" it would effectively be taken out of the lexicon. It is largely for this reason that you can't copyright a common phrase like this.

But that's not what he did. He sought a trademark.

A trademark is a designator of goods and services. In other words, a trademark is something you use to identify yourself as the source of a product. "Coke" is a trademark - when you see it, you think the product being sold under that name is from Coca Cola.

You can get a trademark registration in 2 ways:

1) Use the mark as a source identifier, and then apply for the mark claiming first use. That means you tell the Patent and Trademark Office that you have a trademark and you have been using it since ______ date.

2) File the mark as an "intent to use" application, where you basically say "I mean to use this mark, so I'd like to get my application on record before everyone starts copying me."

Trump is doing the latter.

The other thing you do when you establish a trademark is you identify the types of products you sell using the mark. Just having a trademark on the word "Apple" (to use a classic example) doesn't mean you get to stop everyone else from using the word "apple." It means you get to stop others from using the word "apple" to sell the same things you do. (This, incidentally, is why Apple Records and Apple Computer are in a fight: everything was fine and dandy until Apple Computer started selling music)

So, what Trump is doing is saying "hello world, I mean to start marketing some products under the trademark "You're fired""

Ah, and what line of products does he claim he wants to sell? Games, playthings and casino services. He's not trying to stop people from saying "you're fired" at work or anywhere else. (incidentally, I read into this that Trump is exploring a home version of "The Apprentice," as well as some sort of casino game - I'd be interested in seeing what his deal with Burnett and NBC has to say about that).

The simple fact is that if nobody else uses the phrase to sell games, playthings and clothing, then he has every right to start and to stop others from doing so after him.

FYI, he's also seeking a mark for clothing, but only for the phrase "You're fired! Donald Trump." Based on a quick perusal of the PTO web site, it seems he was not first at the door for "you're fired" all by itself when it comes to clothing.
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Old 03-19-2004, 05:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: West Michigan
I'm copyrighting "too bad, I quit".
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Old 03-19-2004, 08:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
Spike Lee sued Spike TV and won! Spike lee said that they were making money of his name. He did invent the word spike after all.
If you think you can or you can't, you are right!
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Old 03-19-2004, 10:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
"Lets Roll" is trademarked by some lady in my area actually. I've always wanted to tradmark the words "fuck" or possibly "fuck you" after hearing that this is possible. I'd be FUCK-ing rich.
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Old 03-20-2004, 08:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Location: Kingston, Ontario
Originally posted by queedo
Spike Lee sued Spike TV and won! Spike lee said that they were making money of his name. He did invent the word spike after all.
Omg he own that....thats bullshit! his real name isn't even spike!
A.K.A. PainTrain
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Old 03-20-2004, 03:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
Originally posted by Conclamo Ludus
I'm copyrighting "too bad, I quit".

Um... no, the case settled. That doesn't mean that the Spike TV people (Viacom) thought he would win. Rather, they realized that it would cost more to fight than was worth it - plus the downside of losing was huge..
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Old 03-20-2004, 08:45 PM   #16 (permalink)
I'm not about getting creamed, I'm about winning!
H12's Avatar
Location: K-Town, TN
Vince McMahon is goin' to be furious when he hears about this.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit."
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Old 03-21-2004, 10:52 PM   #17 (permalink)
Location: Lubbock, TX
Originally posted by queedo
Spike Lee sued Spike TV and won! Spike lee said that they were making money of his name. He did invent the word spike after all.
no uhhh you're wrong buddy. They settled that lawsuit. You can read for yourself here: http://inventors.about.com/b/a/007680.htm

and feel free to look more into it on other sites as it's all over the place. Be sure to get your facts right before you spout off information incriminating someone.

but yeah i think this is hilarious about the "you're fired" thing. At first I too thought he was trying to copyright it, but now that it's been put more into perspective for me, I don't see it as that bad of an idea; he's just trying to make sure no one else can come along w/ a tv show w/ the tagline "you're fired," (which now people do associate with Donald Trump I think) and possibly get more rich than him.
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Old 03-22-2004, 08:38 PM   #18 (permalink)
Originally posted by illesturban
he's just trying to make sure no one else can come along w/ a tv show w/ the tagline "you're fired," (which now people do associate with Donald Trump I think) and possibly get more rich than him.
Actually, he's not doing that. Mark Burnett (the producer) is.

Trump is trying to get a mark for casino services and games.
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Old 03-31-2004, 08:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
The Griffin
Hanxter's Avatar
Careful Donald - YOU may be fired...

Trump may have competition in Illinois
By Del Jones, USA TODAY

Donald Trump's attempt to trademark the phrase, "You're fired!" may falter in Glenview, Ill. A woman there who named her ceramics studio You're Fired! in 1997 says she will fight the billionaire.

Susan Brenner, 54, filed for the trademark in 1998, but the filing is listed as "dead" by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, possibly because she did not pay renewal fees. But she plans to claim common-law rights to its use. Her lawyer mailed a letter Tuesday warning Trump not to license "You're fired!" merchandise in the area reached by Brenner's mailing list of 5,000 clients, which extends into Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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