No matter what your political affiliation, I think everyone can agree that companies perpetuating fraud on veterans must be stopped. To help crack down on for-profit colleges and universities using fraudulent tactics to enroll military veterans, President Barak Obama is turning to trademark law.
The President has signed an executive order that orders the Department of Veterans Affairs to register “GI Bill” as a trademark.
“Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill became law, there have been reports of aggressive and deceptive targeting of service members, veterans, and their families by educational institutions, particularly for-profit career colleges,” said a White House statement.
According to the Obama Administration, some schools use the phrase GI Bill on their websites and marketing materials to suggest the program’s benefits are only valid at certain schools. By trademarking the phrase, the federal government will be able to restrict its use in marketing and advertising, particularly in ways that are designed to mislead veterans.
Normally, the government does not actively seek protection of trademarks, except in special circumstances such as this. The governments usual position is to not own intellectual property.
Of course, this is not the first time fraudsters have tried to tread on the name of a government agency or program to make a profit. As I mentioned in several previous posts regarding fraudulent trademark, patent and copyright solicitations, private companies not associated with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are using trademark application and registration information from the USPTO’s databases to mail or e-mail trademark-related solicitations that purport to be from a government agency.
As these scams demonstrate, consumers can never be too careful. In addition, organizations should not ignore the value of intellectual property as a valuable tool in their arsenal for combating fraud.
How Can I Help?
If you need help to file a trademark or protect your trademark from fraud or abuse, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +