Tonight marks the final debate of the 2012 presidential election. The race appears to be extremely close. Regardless of your politics or mine, let’s look at the brands and trademarks of the two main candidates:

 Official Romney-Ryan Rally Sign

I like the logo. The “R” is quite nice. Of course it is red, white, and blue.

I was unable to find any trademarks filed by the Romney campaign for any logos or slogans.

The Obama campaign, on the other hand, has an aggressive branding strategy with several slogans, logos, and trademark filings. The Obama campaign logo because a story of its own in the 2008 campaign.

The Obama campaign has registered one trademark [click images and marks for USPTO records]:

And it owns several other pending applications:

 The Obama campaign has had to assert it trademark rights against unauthorized users. (Obama Campaign Sues Local Vendor for Trademark Infringement)  And so it was wise to file for protection of the logos and campaign brand assets from the start to make it easier to do so and to send a message to others that they cannot use the images without permission. Even if the applications never complete the registration process, since the campaign timeframe is relatively limited, they serve a purpose during their pending application status to help block others from registering similar trademarks. While the campaign could likely oppose any such applications that seek to trade off of the logos, it is much easier and less expensive if the USPTO does the work for the campaign by denying any such applications. Note that many such applications could be blocked even if Obama had no applications or registrations if they clearly indicate a false association with the President or use his name or likeness without written permission.

Overall, while both campaigns have good logos, the Obama campaign has been wise to protect its slogans and designs and to let the USPTO do some work for it.

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