Woman files trademark claim for 'I can't breathe', says it's not for the money

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Friday 19 December 2014 17:10
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A woman has reportedly filed an application to trademark the slogan "I can't breathe" that has become synonymous with the protest movement against police brutality in the US.

The Smoking Gun, a website which publishes government documents, says it found the application from Catherine Crump of Waukegan, Illinois. The document says she has been using the phrase commercially since at least 18th August.

It reads:

Mark: I CAN'T BREATHE (Standard Characters, see mark) The literal element of the mark consists of I CAN'T BREATHE The mark consists of standard characters, without claims to any particular font, style, size, or color.

Eric Garner, the unarmed man who suffered a heart attack after being put in an illegal chokehold by a New York Police Department officer, died on 17th July.

His final words - "I can't breathe" - have now been chanted at protests, displayed on banners and adorned on t-shirts as tensions in the US have risen following a number of similar incidents involving unarmed black men and white police officers.

After interviewing Ms Crump, Smoking Gun explains: "While claiming that her purpose for marketing 'I can't breathe' garments was not to make money, she declined to disclose what other reason there was for her trademark filing (which cost $325)."

More: What you need to know about the Eric Garner chokehold case

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