Long Island, NY couple files trademark for "Occupy Wall St.," branded "hobo bags" are on the way

A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) application shows that Robert and Diane Maresca of Long Island, New York, are seeking to trademark the phrase “Occupy Wall St.” so that they can place it on "a wide variety of goods, including bumper stickers, shirts, beach bags, footwear, umbrellas, and hobo bags."

Hobo bags!


  1. I guess we had to expect a co-opting at some point right?  The revolution that can be labelled is not the eternal revolution.

  2. “Hobo bags” really needs to be slang for something else. I’m not sure what; taking nominations now.

  3. Philosophical and practical question – will it be “wrong” for Dian Maresca to make money on the  Occupy movement.  Yes or no and why?

    1. I don’t know that it’s wrong to profit from peoples’ interest in and affection for #OWS – though it would certainly be more seemly if some of the revenue were being fed back into the cause. But these people aren’t just seeking to profit from it; they’re also registering that they own the trademark. One that they quite obviously neither invented nor popularized. Pretty slimy.

      1. Yes I suppose there is a difference between making money on OWS swag and preventing others from making money on OWS swag.

    2. Is it wrong to profit from the OWS movement? Not at all. The people down there keep screaming for jobs. Instead of waiting to be handed an income, why don’t some of them go try to make their own success like the Maresca’s are doing.

      Also, I don’t see this getting approved. And if it does, it can take many months before a TM is approved. By then the whole thing could die down. Not sure how the couple even plans on enforcing their TM given that most populous political movements are grassroots. Are they going to sue every Joe Blow printing stickers at home and selling them on his WordPress site?

        1. A TM is a government granted monopoly on intellectual property, an intangible good.

          No one here is stealing, although if this TM gets granted, it’s all BS and the people submitting for it are morons, as is the government which runs this little system we call trademark.

      1. “Are they going to sue every Joe Blow printing stickers at home and selling them on his WordPress site?”


      1. Why would that be wrong?  Any of the protestors could have had the idea and done the same thing.  Would it have been wrong then?

        I like your name.  Actually, it sort of highlights something that really bugs me about some of the OWS signs and messages I’ve seen.  Many are calling for the death of capitalism.  Here is a pro-tip – we haven’t had capitalism in America for a very long time.  We’ve had fascism and Corporotism.  Combine that with the global policy of Neo-Liberalism, and we’ve got all the world-powers working together with all of the worlds’ wealthy with the goal of keeping poor nations poor and keeping the rich rich.

        Again, that is not capitalism, that’s fascism.  I don’t know enough to posit which regulations are ok and which aren’t – but I DO know that the government-subsidized wealth is enemy-number-1. 

        But we are all fucked.  Even if we could magically immediately stop government subsidized wealth, nobody in America would be willing to deal with the economic fallout which would result.  The US is dependent on that subsidized elitism in too many ways.  People would die.  Vast sections of our industries would grind to a halt and be forced to adapt before moving forward.  This needs to happen, but it won’t.  And so we are fucked.

  4. The movement will have to, like The Artist Both Now And Formerly Known As Prince, refer to itself with a symbol. (Which somebody will trademark as a logo).

  5. Is it all that shocking to see this couple attempting to join the 1% by being total douchebags?

    I guess this is “capitalism”… getting the rights to something valuable (created by someone else) and making money off of it.

    1. Well this is the carrot that the 1% keeps on the stick to keep us slaving away and ripping down each other.  You to can get rich like us, just shove that other guy off the ladder and you move up.

  6. As others mentioned above, they most likely will not be approved for this trademark. ‘Occupy Wall St.’ is too common a thing to mark. 

    But, I couldn’t think of a more ironic way to kill this protest than to have someone set up to receive royalties from everyone who uses the Occupy Wall St. slogan.

  7. I remember 9/11 and how literally a week later commemorative plates were available.   No matter how tasteless, there’s always someone willing to try making money off an idea.

  8. I would happily spend my own time and money making trademark-infringing knockoffs and giving them away just so their business would fail. But really, is anyone going to buy one of these? OK, maybe an ironic hipster or two but I’m betting they don’t cover cost of production. Of course they will be made by children in a third world country so who knows. 

    1. They’re doing it to set a trap for anyone infringing on their “trademark”. Wait for money to be made, then sue for infringement and damages.

    1. Wow “Hobo” bags really come under the “I do not think it means what you think it means.” category.

      but free shipping on over $150

    2. Ugh. Hobo bags aren’t what you’d think. Just a kind of purse:

      Also a delicious Italian appetizer consisting of capers and grated asiago wrapped up in venison carpaccio with a little toothpick at the top to look like the staff that the bag hangs from.

  9. Saw many buttons and baseball caps at #OWS last Friday.  People were making money already.

    Can’t wait for the MTV show and the Repug Congresscritter which will emerge from it a decade or two down the line.

  10. They didn’t create the phrase, and they have had no control over its widespread use for the last several weeks, so they probably have no right to trademark this phrase.  (I’m not a lawyer)

    They also don’t need to trademark it in order to sell merchandise with the phrase printed on it. Trademarks are only useful to keep others from using a phrase, and that requires the use of a lawyer, so the only people to benefit from this are the lawyers. And the lawyers will charge you the same fee whether or not the judge rules for or against you.

    1. Naomi Klein wrote a book, “No Logo”, about the commercialization of the public space.
      Not long after she wrote it, someone applied for the trademark. And got it. It happens.

  11. Yes, “hobo bags”! What else am I expected to keep my hobos in? If you don’t bag your hobos, they will just get creases and tears and all sorts of environmental damage, and will rapidly lose value. I have a mint condition Emmitt Kelly that’s worth at least two bits and a cigar butt! That’s all due to proper use of hobo bags.

  12. Rediculous!  Also, even though Occupy Wall Street is an official entity, I like to think of it as a movement, with lowercase letters.  Given that, http://occupygovernment.org is a good use of this positive movement – a way to take real action with the upcoming elections!

  13. Capitalism Eats Itself?
    I’m looking for Hobo Bags right now. All I got is a hobo handkerchief, totally missing out on the hobo bags.

  14. The cow doesn’t even know how to capitalize her name or where she lives.

    Someone just copyrighted “Keep Calm and Carry On,” so I don’t see why this couldn’t happen. It seems a bit naive to dismiss it because it doesn’t make sense. We are talking copyright law, people. 

  15. We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I’ve witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I’ve seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them… but you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it…
    ideas do not bleed, they do not feel pain, they do not love…

    But they can be registered so someone can profit, justly or unjustly.
    Because profit is more important than ideas…. and that is whats wrong with the world.

  16. Considering how many people have been seen at the Occupy Wall Street protests wearing V for Vendetta style masks, it seems likely that anonymous would take an interest in someone trying to co-op the name. 

    Oh look… she even provided her home address to make it easy for them.

    This should be fun.

  17. ” The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him.”

  18. I saw jello biafra do a spoken word performance for the melbourne festival a few days ago and he was selling tour tshirts with the audacity of hope obama pic on the front and Occupy melbourne and the tour dates on the back.

  19. money. money money.
    99.9 % of the planet lives without it, dies without it, becomes fertilizer for future generations.

  20. Years ago, I saw a quote from a young ad agency suit. She said they could take any revolutionary idea and harness it to make money – that there could be no rebellion they could not co-opt. Seems so. IP laws are destroying our ability to rebel.

  21. That trademark has very little chance. There’s no way they can provide prior art to prove they originated the idea.  If magically the trademark is approved and not challenged (anyone can challenge a trademark before approval), it will be very easy to lose or defend against. 

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