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Trademark This City!

By Chris Karr in Miscellaneous on Jul 5, 2006 9:10PM

Crain's Chicago Business is reporting that Mayor Daley's administration is following in the steps of Michael Bloomberg by trademarking various logos and insignia used by city departments:

In May the city was granted a trademark for the Chicago Airport System logo worn by employees at O’Hare and Midway airports, which affirmed its exclusive right to emblazon the symbol on hats, T-shirts, neckties and even underwear.

Other pending applications would trademark everything from Chicago Police and Fire Department insignias to the sky blue paint job on Streets & Sanitation Department garbage trucks, according to U.S. Patent & Trademark Office records.

While the practice of trademarking these logos is nothing new - sports teams, universities, and other private entities have been doing this for years - a city applying for trademarks is something unique. According to Crain's, governments cannot trademark flags, official seals, or coats of arms. (We didn't know that coats of arms were even used anymore on this side of the big pond.) However, cities are allowed to register trademarks for departmental logos.

Now, while we're big fans of anything that keeps the city running that don't require us to dip into our pocketbooks (three cheers for free money!), we hope that this doesn't get out of hand with things like ugly-ass trucker hats emblazoned with traffic cop logos or baby-tees with the official logo of the Chicago Department of Health. If their taste in clothing is anything resembling their taste in web design, count us out.

On the other hand, we won't protest too much should the city decide to open their own Cafe Press store selling respectable things like baby bibs printed with the fire department logo, mousepads emblazoned with the logo of the city clerk, or mugs with the police department logo.

(We leave it to the readers to imagine all the fun you can have with printing CTA maps on undergarments.)

Image credit: The City of Chicago