Lofgren leads bipartisan effort to protect veterans groups from overzealous trademark claims

October 22, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in calling on the Department of Defense (DOD) to drop their opposition to veterans groups' use of military seals in Veterans Day parades and other patriotic or veterans-oriented events in a letter today.

The letter, signed by 20 Members of Congress, notes that a number of veterans organizations, including the United Veterans Council of Santa Clara County, have received cease-and-desist letters from the Department of Defense alleging trademark infringement for their use of official military seals in veterans-related events, including Memorial and Veterans Day observances.

"It is difficult to understand the legal basis, never mind the logic of the DOD threatening any non-profit veterans group with trademark liability for using official seals to honor our nation's veterans," reads the letter. "Honoring our nation's veterans should not require veterans organizations to seek a trademark license from DOD."

The letter calls on the Department of Defense to "grant a one-time waiver to all non-profit veterans groups to use the official seals of the military branches in upcoming Veterans Day parades or other patriotic events for the remainder of 2015," while the department updates its licensing policy "to allow veterans groups to more easily use emblems and other military marks to honor their service."

In addition to Lofgren, the letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Corinne Brown (D-Fla.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), John Conyers, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, (D-Mich.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Bob Brady (D-Pa.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), and Dina Titus (D-Nev.).

A pdf copy of the letter can be found here.

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