SAN FRANCISCO — The revolution will be trademarked and put on T-shirts if an increasing number of entrepreneurs succeed in their attempts to profit from the Occupy demonstrations.
A few T-shirts began to appear several days after the first protest began on Sept. 17 with a march through the streets of lower Manhattan.
Now, T-shirts, coffee mugs and other merchandise emblazoned with Occupy locations and slogans are being offered online and amid the camp sites that have sprung up in cities across the country. A number of merchandise vendors, clothing designers and others are making plans to market a wide-variety of goods for a wide-variety of reasons even as some protesters decry the business plans as directly counter to the demonstrations' goals.
In recent weeks, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has received a spate of applications from enterprising merchandisers, lawyer and others seeking to win exclusive commercial rights to such phrases as "We are the 99 percent," "Occupy" and "Occupy DC 2012."
Organizers of the protest centered in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park went so far as to file for a trademark of "Occupy Wall Street" after several other applications connected to the demonstrations were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Wylie Stecklow, a lawyer representing the protesters, said the Oct. 24 filing was done to prevent profiteering from a movement many say is a protest of corporate greed.
"I would like to ensure that this isn't coopted for commercial purposes," Stecklow said. "The trademark can be used for noncommercial purposes."
Stecklow's application was one of three filed with the U.S. PTO seeking to trademark either "Occupy Wall Street" or "Occupy Wall St."