Gun Control hits the USPTO

Posted by | April 24, 2013 | General | No Comments

As the heated (pun fully intended) public debate about gun control continues, I thought it would be fun to examine trademark applications for the term GUN CONTROL. I expected to find a roughly equal mix of applications filed by gun control supporters and opponents, and I thought there would be numerous applications, and even a few registrations, from which to choose. I was wrong on all accounts.

As of today, there are only 12 USPTO records that include the term GUN CONTROL, of which eight are DEAD and four of which are LIVE:

One application (the bottom one for GUN CONTROL) does not list any goods or services. Of the remaining eleven applications, there are is only one, or maybe two, that were filed by proponents of gun control:


NATIONAL GUN CONTROL ASSOCIATION for an association (collective) of “gun control activists”



The rest of the applications containing the term GUN CONTROL all were filed by opponents of gun control:


AMENDMENT II YES! GUN CONTROL, NO! for “bumper stickers”

WE DON’T NEED GUN CONTROL WE NEED SELF CONTROL for “promoting public awareness of the need for education on firearm use and safety”

GUN CONTROL GOOD JUDGMENT AND A CLEAN SHOT for “gun cases, jewelry, stickers, posters, & clothing”

FOR BETTER GUN CONTROL USE TWO HANDS for “stickers, posters, clothing and promoting public awareness of the need for education on firearm use and safety” (2 identical applications)


GUN CONTROL HOLD AIM FIRE for “stickers, posters, paper cups & signs”


GUN CONTROL HOLD IT AIM IT FIRE IT for “stickers, posters, paper cups & signs”


When I expanded my search to capture PTO records that included both the term GUN and the term CONTROL, not necessarily next to each other, I also found this new application:




Even though thus far GUN CONTROL has made its way into fewer trademark records than I’d imagined, some simple observations can be made:

1. Most gun control opposing brands play off of the word control ~ encouraging gun control that enables the gun owner to hit its target.

2. Gun control opponents like stickers.

3. Gun control opponents also oppose the use of proper grammar . . . perhaps its rules in general that they dislike? 

It’s always interesting (to me at least) to see how trademark applications track current events and pop-culture. It seems to me that gun control opponents get more airtime so maybe there’s a correlation between airtime and TM apps.

About Lara

Lara Pearson is a trademark attorney with Exemplar, where she also serves as the firm's Sustainability Steward. Lara's legal practice focuses on trademark and copyright law, including: intellectual property audits; trademark search & clearance; trademark and copyright registration & maintenance; intellectual property transfers; transactional work; and dispute resolution, including litigation when necessary. Lara primarily represents other social enterprises -- those leveraging their businesses and brands as catalysts for positive social and environmental change. Such businesses engage in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to have a positive "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit. As Exemplar's Sustainability Steward, Lara works with others in her law firm to measure and reduce the firm's carbon emissions and encourage engagement in social responsibility initiatives, including pro bono legal work and volunteering. Lara is a proud member of the Social Venture Network. Brand Geek is a member of 1% for the Planet and a Certified B Corporation, whose Incline Village office is certified under the regional Keep the Sierra Green program. Exemplar Companies is the most innovative professional services firm in the New Economy. Our unique, diversified expertise spans the disciplines of corporate law, business advisory, and capital/investment banking to better meet the needs of our high-potential customers. We have assembled a comprehensive suite of service to meet the complex issues facing companies in today’s challenging business environment. Our unique, holistic approach ensures the growth and success – and greatly increases the competitive advantage - of our customers. The Exemplar team is comprised of knowledgeable, highly skilled experts in a wide range of industries and disciplines. They work closely with our customers to provide trusted advice, incomparable support, expert guidance and the ultimate competitive advantage as they accelerate their businesses and position themselves to transform industries.

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