June 14, 2024

Supreme Court rejects 'Trump too small' trademark

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Steve Elster did not have the free speech right to trademark the phrase "Trump too small," which alludes to the allegedly small size of former President Donald Trump's hands and what that is said to signify about the size of other parts of his body.

The phrase comes from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)'s comments during the 2016 primary election about Trump's hands.

A restriction on trademarking other people's names has traditionally existed alongside the First Amendment.

“We conclude that a tradition of restricting the trademarking of names has coexisted with the First Amendment, and the names clause fits within that tradition,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the court’s main opinion.

"You know what they say"

“We see no reason to disturb this longstanding tradition, which supports the restriction of the use of another’s name in a trademark.”

“He is taller than me, he’s like 6-2, which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5-2,” Rubio mocked during a stump speech at the time.

“Have you seen his hands? And you know what they say about men with small hands — you can’t trust them.”

Trump addressed the comment during a subsequent debate, claiming that Rubio had said that if his hands are small, “something else must be small.”

“I guarantee you there is no problem,” Trump added. “I guarantee.”

Court was skeptical

Rubio later apologized for the insult.

The U.S. Trademark and Patent Office also rejected the patent of "too small" without the Trump name, saying that Elster wouldn't have the right to use Trump's name without permission.

The court was skeptical of Elster's claim that the rejection violated his free speech rights even during oral arguments.

“At the end of the day, it’s pretty hard to argue that a tradition that’s been around a long, long time — since the founding, common law-type stuff — is inconsistent with the First Amendment,” Justice Neil Gorsuch argued at the time.

There has been no ruling yet on Trump's immunity claims, which have caused delays in at least two of the trials against him.

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