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Sarah Palin Inc. Can she trademark her name?

Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol want to trademark their names – a legal action more typical of celebrity figures in sports, fashion, and entertainment. As well-paid "motivational speakers," they've already made their mark.

By Staff writer / February 6, 2011

Sarah Palin buttons are displayed for sale outside the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada, last month.

Max Whittaker/Reuters

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It’s been said by her critics and mockers that Sarah Palin has become a brand, peddling herself with well-paid speeches, books written with a lot of help from professional wordsmiths, her own “reality” TV show, and those little key chains trimmed with genuine “Mama Grizzly” fur. (OK, so we made up the bit about the key chains.)

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Now, it appears, Mrs. Palin – and her “Dancing with the Stars” daughter Bristol – really do want to be identified with a personal economic brand. They’ve applied to have their names trademarked. "Sarah Palin®" and "Bristol Palin®."

Not to sell souvenir coffee mugs or hats with their visage, but as “motivational speakers.” In the former Alaska governor’s case, that could prevent, say, Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey from performing as “Sarah Palin.” Or vice versa if it turns out that Tina Fey is actually “Tina Fey®.”

According to papers filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (and first reported by Politics Daily), Mrs. Palin is seeking to trademark her name for "educational and entertainment services … providing motivational speaking services in the field of politics, culture, business and values."

The younger Ms. Palin’s application is for "educational and entertainment services, namely, providing motivational speaking services in the field of life choices."

As a 20 year-old who became a single mom as a teenager, Bristol Palin already has a lucrative career speaking about “life choices” – giving speeches and appearing on panels regarding teen abstinence.

In addition to “Dancing with the Stars,” Ms. Palin has appeared on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and of course “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” And she’s formed her own public relations and political consulting firm.

Bristol as controversial as her mother

Trademark or not, Bristol Palin as a paid public speaker seems to be as controversial as her mother.

Last month, Washington University in St. Louis withdrew an invitation for her to speak on a panel for “Student Sexual Responsibility Week.”

“Because of the growing controversy among undergraduates over the decision to pay for her talk with student-generated funds” the committee and Palin decided against the appearance, the university said in a statement.

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