Sen. Barack Obama

A teenager who invented a series of rings with interchangeable rocks is challenging the use by the Barack Obama presidential campaign of a “Change Rocks” slogan.

That’s because, according to U.S. trademark No. 3,266,236, that slogan belongs to
Stefan Doyno, a Scarsdale, N.Y., resident who invented the jewelry products – rings and pendants – and is working on expanding his line. As part of his work he obtained “Change Rocks” as a registered trademark, according to a report in the White Plains, N.Y., Journal News.

Doyno told the newspaper he learned the campaign had used his “Change Rocks” trademark for a concert and campaign fundraiser in Chicago Dec. 7 when he saw the results of an Internet search.

“I was shocked,” the first-year student at SUNY-Buffalo told the paper. “I flipped out kind of because I was like, ‘Oh no, someone else is using it.'”

He said he called lawyers for advice, and they sent a letter before Christmas to David Plouffe, the national campaign manager for Obama, pointing out the use of the name could bring difficulties if the campaign sells T-shirts or other memorabilia with the slogan.

He told the newspaper the letter also suggests it might be to Obama’s interests to work out a deal with the trademark owner.

“Westchester County, as you are obviously aware, is heavily Democratic and we have no doubt that Mr. Obama – despite Ms. Clinton’s residence here – enjoys considerable support in the area. Mr. Doyno is far more interested in exploring possible synergies between Mr. Obama’s use of Change Rocks as a slogan or theme and the Change Rocks mark and products than he is in preventing Mr. Obama from using the mark in connection with the campaign,” said the letter.

So far, neither the teen nor his lawyers has heard back, the newspaper said, but an Obama campaign representative was expected to be considering the issue.

“We thought Obama would recognize the trademark when he realized another Democrat was giving this inventor praise,” Howard N. Aronson, managing partner at the Scarsdale intellectual property firm Lackenbach Siegel, told the newspaper.


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