City Government

Eagle Candidates Cautioned On Use Of City Trademark

A concerned citizen in Eagle sent us the following message that was sent to candidates for city offices:

Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011
Candidates should be aware that the image of the eagle with the starburst behind it, that is used on the City of Eagle entry signage and the arch above Eagle Road is a trademarked image and may not be used without consent of the City of Eagle.

Please double check your campaign materials and confirm that the image was utilized. I have attached a copy of the certificate was received from the Secretary of State after the City went through the process to trademark the image.

Should you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact the Clerk’s Office 939-6813.

Tracy E. Osborn, CMC
Sr. Deputy Clerk/Treasurer
City of Eagle, ID

As one who is deals with copyright law daily, the GUARDIAN can attempt to offer some insight.

The issue is to ban use of the specific image in a manner that would confuse a reader or imply they are looking an an official document of the city of eagle.

The “FAIR USE DOCTRINE” would not preclude an image of a candidate standing in front of the sign or the sign depicted in context as a gateway monument. Here is another IMPROPER USE we brought to the Sec of State ourselves through a reader.

Also,candidates often have signs reading “JOHN DOE City councilman.” If he is not a councilman that has been ruled either unfair or illegal–a misrepresentation. Also “Re-Elect” cannot be used by someone not holding
the office they seek. No wonder politicos get a bad rep.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. John Browder
    Oct 27, 2011, 9:39 am

    Dear Mr. Guardian:

    I think you may be confusing trademark and copyright law. Without waxing on, the fair use doctrine generally allows people, under certain circumstances, to use copyrighted material to create new expression. I don’t think it applies to trademark law. Trademark law intends to protect words, names or symbols. Copyright aims to protect original works of authorship, which can include literary works, photographs, musical works and other stuff. Copyright and trademark law are conceptually distinct.

    EDITOR NOTE–You are totally correct and I do indeed understand. The original warning from the city specifically cited the sign. I think the issue was TRADEMARK rather than the sign and that’s why I discussed both as well as linked to the trademark issue from the oil company people previously posted. Have to admit we haven’t seen the controversial material, but sought to put it into perspective.

  2. If the candidate is running for the city council for the city of eagle, what is wrong with using the eagle emblem on their campaign literature? Like dave says they can stand in front of the emblem and have their picture taken. An by the way, if that letter from the city is any indication of the clarity of anything that goes on in the city of eagle, no wonder they don’t have a downtown. who doesn’t have a question regarding the letter after reading it?

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