Twice in One Week, Russ Feingold Accused of Infringement, Told To Take Down Campaign Ad

MADISON — After pulling a campaign commercial earlier this week after the National Football League accused him of copyright infringement by using NFL footage, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) made another ad fumble – infringing on a trademark owned by Americans for Prosperity (AFP). In his campaign commercial, “Hands Off,” Senator Feingold infringes on “Hands Off My Health Care,” an AFP trademark used during the debate over the federal health care legislation.

“’Hands Off My Health Care’ was a grassroots initiative led by AFP to combat the policies of senators like Feingold who were championing a government-run health care program that would limit patients’ choices in medical care,” said Mark Block, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin. “Feingold’s use of ‘Hands Off My Health Care’ in this way will cause confusion and is a clear violation of AFP’s rights.”

Feingold’s ad, which began airing this week, showed Wisconsin residents asking opponent Ron Johnson to keep their “hands off my health care.” AFP owns that trademark and earlier this year also issued a cease and desist letter to the Democratic National Committee for its infringing use of the trademark in a series of radio commercials. AFP has demanded that the Feingold campaign remove the ad from both television and the internet immediately.

“Feingold speaks a good game about responsible speech in the campaign season, but twice in one week he has run over the rights of two organizations in a desperate attempt to smear his opponent. If Feingold continues with these flagrant fouls, I wouldn’t be surprised if his constituents decide to bench him.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens to support restraining state and federal government growth and returning government to its constitutional limits. AFP is more than 1.5 million activists strong, with activists in all 50 states.  AFP has 31 state chapters and affiliates. More than 70,000 Americans in all 50 states have made a financial contribution to AFP or AFP Foundation. For more information, visit Americans for Prosperity does not support or oppose candidates for public office.


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One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Michael Feigin, Esq., Patent Attorney]
    Michael Feigin, Esq., Patent Attorney
    October 12, 2010 03:45 pm

    If he’s using it as it’s defined in the dictionary, I’m not sure that’s infringement. If I say, “I’m going to the bathroom and I’ll be back in an hour”, just because someone owns a trademark for “be back in an hour” for toilet seats, doesn’t make me infringing…. I think.

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