A U.S. government agency has rejected a trademark application by Donald Trump’s Truth Social because the social network’s name isn’t unique enough.
In a filing from August 2, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said Truth Social’s name is too similar to other businesses, which could cause consumers to be “confused, mistaken or deceived as to the commercial source of the goods and/or services of the parties.”
The trademark snafu is another stumbling block for the fledgling social media service, whose parent company has drawn regulatory scrutiny and recently warned that its success could be impacted by a decline in Trump’s popularity or via “further controversies that damage his credibility.”
The rejection by the trademark office “is a huge roadblock” for Truth Social to protect its name, according to trademark attorney Josh Gerben, who tweeted about the denial on Thursday.
“Regardless of how big your company is or how famous your backers are, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will review each application on its own, and you can still run into problems if it’s not unique enough,” Gerben told CBS MoneyWatch.
Trump Media & Technology Group, which runs Truth Social, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
The company can appeal the decision and has about six months to do so, Gerben said. But getting a decision reversed can be difficult, he added: “We do a lot of that work here, and I would tell a client that they have around a 33% chance of being successful.”
Vero and Truth Network
The trademark office pointed out that Truth Social’s name is similar to two other businesses: Vero — True Social, a social media app, and the Truth Network, a Christian radio service. Truth Social’s name is confusingly “similar to the registered marks” of Vero—True Social and the Truth Network, the agency said.
Trump’s network could seek to negotiate with Vero—True Social or Truth Network, Gerben noted. But at the same time, the former president’s social media service is now facing a risk that these companies could enforce their trademarks.
“There are data companies that go in and notify the owner of these trademarks, and say, ‘Your trademark was used to block this other application’,’ he said. “The biggest risk is one of these companies could decide they might want to enforce their trademark rights and demand that [Truth Social] no longer use their name.”
But Trump isn’t known shy away from litigation, Gerben added. “The chances of them being super concerned about this is probably not too high given the client that is involved,” he said. “I don’t think [the trademark rejection] will deter Trump from using the name.”