Donald Trump pointing during a campaign event.

Trump’s Truth Social Trademark Application Declined

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said the name was too similar to that of other companies.

Former president Donald Trump’s social media platform Truth Social is in the news again. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined to approve trademark status for Truth Social because the name was “confusingly similar” to that of other companies, reports Insider. Among similarly named companies are VERO – True Social, another social media platform, and the Truth Network, a Christian talk radio network.

“Because the marks are similar and the goods and services are related, there is a likelihood of confusion as to the source of applicant’s goods and services, and registration is refused pursuant to Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act,” the filing said. 

Trump Media & Technology Group has until February 2023 to respond to the patent and trademark office’s ruling, Insider says.

Truth Social header shown on tablet on top of bloack bac
Source: Bigstock Photo

On Monday, Axios reported that Truth Social is in a world of hurt, both legally and financially. Sources told Axios that Truth Social owes $1.6 million in payments to RightForge, one of the company’s vendors. If Trump Media & Technology Group doesn’t pay the bill, they could potentially lose cloud hosting for the Truth Social app, the sources say.

RightForge’s CEO Martin Avila, however, showed his support for Trump.

“RightForge is committed to servicing the client,” said Avila. “We were there from the ground floor and we support the president and all of his endeavors and we’re committed to building a free speech American ideas based internet.”

Earlier this summer, other concerns plagued Trump Media & Technology Group, most notably an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the company’s proposed merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company. In addition to the SEC probe, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York issued subpoenas to each of DWAC’s directors.

Immediately following these disclosures, DWAC director Bruce Garelick resigned though DWAC was quick to say that his resignation was not related to a disagreement about DWAC’s “operations, policies or practices.” Trump Media & Technology Group issued a press release in response.

“TMTG is focused on reclaiming the American people’s right to free expression. Every day, our team works tirelessly to sustain Truth Social’s rapid growth, onboard new users, and add new features. We encourage – and will cooperate with – oversight that supports the SEC’s important mission of protecting retail investors,” said the June 27 statement.

A few weeks later, Truth Social announced it was making major upgrades to the platform under the direction of Trump and Trump Media & Technology Group Devin Nunes.

“TMTG is swiftly building a sophisticated social media platform that offers users the terrific features that originally drew them to Big Tech without the ruthless censorship that drove them away,” said Nunes in a July 7 news release. “With this update and others that are already in the works, President Trump – Chairman of the Board of Directors of TMTG – is fulfilling his pledge to give the American people their voice back and make social media fun again via Truth Social.”

As rumors and headlines swirled around the controversy, former president Trump was removed as chairman of the board, prior to receipt of the federal subpoena. Other directors also left the TMTG board including Donald Trump Jr., Wes Moss, Kashyap Patel, Andrew Northwall and Scott Glabe, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. This is confirmed by a document filed with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.

Battle with Google

In an unrelated matter, yesterday Trump Media & Technology Group put out a press release with an update on its efforts to be included in the Google Play Store. Thus far, Google has denied them access.

“TMTG has continuously worked in good faith with Google to ensure that the Truth Social Android App complies with Google’s policies without compromising our promise to be a haven for free speech. As our users know, Truth Social is building a vibrant, family-friendly environment that works expeditiously to remove content that violates its Terms of Service – which independent observers have noted are among the most robust in the industry,” the company said.

They said they believe that competitors’ apps are in clear violation of Google policies yet they remain accessible via the Google Play Store.

“TMTG has no desire to litigate its business matters in the public sphere, but for the record, has promptly responded to all inquiries from Google. It is our belief that all Americans should have access to Truth Social no matter what devices they use. We look forward to Google approving Truth Social at their earliest convenience,” the company added.

Insider Take

While Trump has millions of supporters, the Truth Social app has been plagued from the start, beginning with a lackluster launch and technical difficulties early on. Legal and financial concerns continue to plague the former president and Truth Social, while he is also in the hot seat for other alleged offenses. It is not known how many users Truth Social has, but the figure has been estimated at 2 million active users at the end of April. However, this figure is based on Trump’s Twitter follower count when he was banned from that social media platform following the January 6, 2021 insurrection. It has not been confirmed.

What’s next? Will Truth Social become a viable and popular social media platform or will Trump Media & Technology Group’s troubles continue to plague Truth Social, forcing it into oblivion? We expect Truth Social will be around for a while, but its financial and legal troubles may eventually render it unsustainable. As always, Trump’s actions and business decisions are headline-makers. We’ll be watching to see what happens next.

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