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War of words over Reagan’s ‘peace through strength’
“When you think about ‘peace through strength,’ do you ever think about the America whatever-it-is foundation? No,” he said. “It was strong back in the ‘70s, they promoted it for everyone, but they went dormant for decades.”
Mark McKenna, a professor at Notre Dame Law School, said trademarks can be granted on phrases, and the law doesn’t require that someone invented it or was the first to use it. The key is whether they were the first to attach it to their goods or services.
As for the infringement charge, he said it’s a tough call.
Mr. McKenna said the center could argue it is using the slogan to describe its policy agenda in the context of Reagan’s history, though at times the group strays close to the line by associating it so closely with its own name. He said it amounts to a jump ball for the court.
“In the political world where so many of the organizations have similar names, I’d bet that a court wouldn’t want to step in here and stop the use, but I can’t say I’m overly confident of that prediction,” he said.
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