Cognate's Trademark Blog

POTUS, Trademark & Horror Movies

Yes, one would think that linking all three together would be nigh on impossible. But remember it is the 45th presidency and all bets are off. The Huffington Post reported over the weekend that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign committee is still trying to trademark a phrase from dystopian political horror movie “The Purge.”

The Huff Post writes…

With the release of “The First Purge,” the latest installment in the 5-year-old dystopian franchise about government-sponsored killing sprees, you might be wondering, “Huh, is President Donald Trump still planning on using that ‘Keep America Great’ slogan that was ripped straight from the horror movies?”

Well, readers, he is.

We waded into the complicated, literally horrifying waters to find out that, yes, Trump’s team has indeed filed applications to trademark the phrase. And no, the “Purge” creators are not surprised. Oh, and there’s a lone copyright applicant who could potentially stand in POTUS’s way.

To understand this saga, you need to go back to January 2017, when The Washington Post reported that Trump had revealed his new campaign slogan for 2020.

“‘Keep America Great,’ exclamation point,” he told the paper, seemingly off the cuff. 

According to the Post, Trump called a lawyer in during the interview to trademark and register two different “Keep America Great” slogans ― one with an exclamation point and one without ― on the spot. “Got it,” the lawyer replied, and business seemed to be handled.

The only problem? Apparently unbeknownst to Trump, his lawyer and The Washington Post, the slogan had already appeared in a poignantly titled 2016 horror movie: “The Purge: Election Year.” 

By using “Keep America Great” in its promotional materials, “Purge: Election Year” ― which, like its franchise predecessors, centers on the one night a year when people can legally murder the hell out of each other as an act of radical catharsis ― seemingly mocked Trump’s “Make America Great Again” phrase, effectively likening Trump’s America to its cinematic nightmare.

Two years later, Trump’s re-election campaign is actually trying to use “Keep America Great” itself, even though the horror movie connection went comically viral soon after the Washington Post interview. 

There’s more of this at

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