President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, Obama for America, sued a Washington-based promotional company on Wednesday for selling what it alleged was unauthorized merchandise.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Chicago, says Washington Promotions & Printing Inc and its website Demstore.com violated trademark and unfair competition laws when they sold items featuring the so-called Rising Sun logo used in Obama's campaigns.
"Consumers are likely to believe that Defendants' ... products are associated with Obama for America, when in fact they are not," the lawsuit said. "Such confusion is likely to damage Obama for America's ability to gain revenue through the sale of merchandise bearing the Rising Sun Trademarks."
Obama for America owns the trademarks for both the red, white and blue Rising Sun logo and design, the lawsuit said. The Rising Sun logo was used on ads, posters and other visual media by the Obama for America campaign in 2008, and is being used in preparation for the 2012 U.S. presidential election. The graphic logo depicts a sun rising out of a horizon within the letter "O" or the number "0."
Messages seeking comment from Demstore.com and Washington Promotions & Printing were not immediately returned on Wednesday night.
The complaint adds that defendants were using the logos "in a deliberate and willful attempt to draw on the goodwill and commercial magnetism" of the trademarks and of the Obama campaign.
Obama for America seeks a court order stopping defendants from continuing to sell products with the Rising Sun logo, an accounting and award of defendants' profits, damages and attorneys' fees.
(Reporting by Moira Herbst in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)