Supreme Court Denies Trademark for ‘Trump Too Small,’ Mocking the Size of President’s Hands

A California man claimed that a rule preventing him from receiving the trademark was a violation of his First Amendment rights.

Yuki Iwamura-Pool/Getty Images
Scotus shot down a man's claim to trademark a T-shirt design mocking the size of President Trump’s hands. Yuki Iwamura-Pool/Getty Images

A man seeking to trademark a T-shirt design mocking the size of President Trump’s hands was denied at the Supreme Court Thursday, ensuring anyone can print T-shirts ridiculing the size of Trump’s hands.

In a ruling Thursday the Supreme Court denied a California lawyer who sought to trademark the phrase “Trump too small” for use on T-shirts and hats.

The Patent and Trademark Office had denied his application for a trademark citing the fact that it contained the name of a living person and that the lawyer, Steve Elster, did not have Trump’s consent.

Mr. Elster in turn sued, saying that the rule preventing him from trademarking “Trump too small” was a violation of his First Amendment rights.

The phrase stems from an exchange between Trump and Senator Rubio in a 2016 presidential debate, when Trump called Mr. Rubio “little Marco” and Mr. Rubio responded by calling attention to the size of Trump’s hands.

Trump responded by raising his hands, asking, “Are they small hands? He referred to my hands, if they’re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there’s no problem — I guarantee.”

Though all nine justices ruled against granting Mr. Elster the trademark, the justices had differing reasonings for why. Justice Clarence Thomas cited the American tradition of letting individuals control trademarks referencing their own names.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, in a concurring opinion, said that the trademark rule simply did not violate any part of the Constitution. The three liberal justices agreed at least in part with Justice Barrett’s opinion.


The New York Sun

© 2024 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use