Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. (Photo: Joseph Sohm/

In the midst of an interview with a Washington Post reporter last week about the origins of the now ubiquitous slogan, “Make America Great Again,” Donald Trump suddenly paused the interview and called out to his staff, “Get me my lawyer.”

Trump, who had not yet been sworn in as the nation’s 45th president, had just unveiled a new slogan that he told The Washington Post he could use for his re-election campaign in 2020. Within minutes of the pronouncement, according to the Post, a lawyer came to Trump and received instructions to pursue a couple of trademark registrations on the new slogan, “Keep America Great.”

The applications for those trademarks have now reached the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

During the Washington Post interview, Trump said to the unidentified lawyer who was summoned to his office, “Will you trademark and register, if you would, if you like it—I think I like it, right? Do this: ‘Keep America Great,’ with an exclamation point. With and without an exclamation. ‘Keep America Great,’” according to the Post.

“Got it,” the lawyer reportedly replied.

Trump’s trademark applications reached the PTO on Jan. 18—the same day the Post’s article ran, thanks to Patrice Jean, a New York-based partner with Hughes Hubbard & Reed. Jean shows up as counsel of record on a pair of trademark applications—one for “Keep America Great” and another for “ Keep America Great!“—that were filed on behalf of Donald J. Trump For President Inc.

A Hughes Hubbard spokeswoman on Tuesday confirmed the firm’s work on Trump’s trademark applications.

The new trademark applications seek protection for the slogan’s use on a range of products often found on the campaign trail, such as bumper stickers, paper and cardboard signs, T-shirts, tank tops and hats. The application also indicates that Hughes Hubbard’s relationship with Trump continues. The new president has tapped the firm in the past on IP matters, according to court records and news reports.

The applications mark just the first step in trying to register a trademark on the slogan, setting off a review process at the PTO, according to Joanne Ludovici, a trademark partner at McDermott Will & Emery, who has no connection to the Trump applications.

Trump’s legal team technically filed an “intent-to-use” application, which starts the trademark office’s review as long as the applicant shows in good faith that he does plan to use the mark eventually. If the application makes it through the review process successfully, it still wouldn’t be an officially registered trademark until the Trump legal team shows it’s being used in the marketplace, Ludovici said, speaking generally about the trademark registration process.

Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” has already made its way through the trademark process, and was officially registered in July 2015, about a month after Trump formally announced his candidacy.

Jean of Hughes Hubbard specializes in counseling pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on patent law, according to her firm biography. She joined the firm in 2015 after spending a few years at the now-dissolved IP specialty law firm Kenyon & Kenyon.

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