WASHINGTON – On December 12, 2013, Members of the House and Senate introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow the United States or any state or local government to register official insignia for federal trademark protection. Congressmen Ted Poe (TX-2)  and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) introduced H.R. 3713 in the House and Senators Klobuchar (MN), Charles Schumer (NY) and Mike Lee (UT) introduced identical companion legislation in the Senate. 

“State and local governments (including local law enforcement) should have the ability to be protected by federal trademark laws,” said Rep. Poe. “Producing counterfeit items with the logo of a local government or law enforcement agency should not be a source of profit, it should be a crime.”

This bill would amend the Trademark Act of 1946, also known as the Lanham Act, to allow the Federal government as well as all State and local governments to register with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) marks consisting of their flag, coat of arms and other official seals.

“State and local governments (including local law enforcement) should have the ability to be protected by federal trademark laws,” said Rep. Poe (TX-2). “Producing counterfeit items with the logo of a local government or law enforcement agency should not be a source of profit, it should be a crime.”

Currently, the Trademark Act of 1946 does not include federal protections for official flags and other such emblems. Local governments have expressed support for legislation on this critical issue. In June 2012, the United States Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution asking Congress to pass this legislation.

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