“Be Woke. Vote” Political Merch Doesn’t Infringe Trademark on “Woke Vote”
In Think Rubix, LLC v. Be Woke. Vote, decided Tuesday by Judge Kimberly Jo Mueller (E.D. Cal.), the court rejected plaintiff’s trademark claim:
Think Rubix “is a social innovation consultancy firm.” Think Rubix uses its WOKE VOTE initiative to “promote public awareness of the need for educating citizens about politics … and encourage greater participation in the political process.” This “initiative is primarily aimed at the activation, engagement, and mobilization of historically disengaged voters of color through strategic social media outreach, campus and faith-based outreach, demonstrations, and intense get-out-the-vote mobilization efforts.” Id. Defendants’ Be Woke. Vote initiative “aim[s] to encourage participation and inspiration of younger generations that are oftentimes disenfranchised … and to create discussions about politics through social media initiatives and in-person events.” Each initiative uses a mark featuring its respective name: WOKE VOTE and Be Woke. Vote.
Since August 2017, Think Rubix has used the WOKE VOTE mark as a wordmark and feature in logos and designs. Think Rubix uses the mark “in association with its political and civic engagement services.” In 2018, Think Rubix applied for a federal trademark “for a stylized mark incorporating the phrase WOKE VOTE,” which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved in June 2019. The trademark … comprises the word “‘WOKE’ in yellow above the word ‘VOTE’ in white, all within a circular design in black and yellow.” “Within the letter ‘O’ in ‘WOKE’ appears a black and yellow background with
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