President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is suing a website that sells T-shirts, bumper stickers and buttons with the campaign's signature "O" logo, claiming the store is infringing on its trademark.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Washington, the committee says Demstore.com is illegally selling products with two of its logos.
In the old days (of, say, four years ago), almost any political campaign would have given its eye teeth to see outside actors pushing its campaign logo. Ubiquity is a big part of that whole "winning elections" thing. You want people talking about you, displaying your distinguishing symbols, etc.
These days, though, campaigns really are morphing into the big businesses that people prone to support Obama complain they've always been:
[T]he campaign makes money from merchandise sales on its own website and doesn't get that money, which is considered a campaign contribution, when people buy the items on another site. The campaign also misses out on a chance to get the contact information of people buying the merchandise -- information that is used for future fundraising efforts.
Is it possible that Obama's the first president to look beyond his tenure in the White House in terms not of "legacy" but of "brand?"