Supreme Court rules Concord man can't trademark “Trump too small”

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday decided unanimously against a person who desires to trademark the offensive phrase “Trump too small.”

Government officials said the slogan “Trump too small” could proceed for use but wouldn’t be protected as a trademark because Trump didn’t consent to its use. In fact, T-shirts with the slogan “Trump too small” can already be purchased online.

Elster's lawyers had argued that the choice violated his right to free speech, and a federal appeals court agreed.

At the hearing, presiding judge John Roberts said that if Elster won, there could be a race for the trademark rights under the motto “Trump also this, Trump also that”.

Although all nine justices agreed to reject Elster's First Amendment claim, they used different reasoning that spanned 53 pages of their opinions.

Twice up to now six years, judges have struck down provisions of federal law that prohibited trademark rights after they were considered scandalous or immoral in a single case and derogatory in the opposite.

Elster's case involved one other measure that will reject a trademark application if it included a reputation, portrait or signature “that identifies a specific living person” unless that person had given their “written consent.”

The sentence at issue within the case refers to an exchange that Trump had through the 2016 presidential campaign with Senator Marco Rubio, who was also running for the Republican presidential nomination on the time.

Rubio began the verbal sparring when he told supporters at a rally that Trump all the time calls him “little Marco,” but that Trump – who’s himself 6-foot-3 – has disproportionately small hands. “Have you seen his hands? … And you know what they say about men with small hands,” Rubio said. “You can't trust them.”

Trump then made this remark in a televised debate on March 3, 2016.

“Look at those hands. Are those small hands? And he meant my hands – if they're small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee you that,” he said.

It is considered one of several cases before the court related to former President Donald Trump, including major cases related to the violent attack on the Capitol in 2021. Earlier this term, the court set standards for when public officials will be sued for blocking critics from their social media accounts. Those cases also related to Trump.

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