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App Developer Beats Donald Trump in Court Without a Lawyer

Donald Trump, now President Trump, is always quick to defend his name using a team of lawyers representing The Trump Organization. If you release a product or service that includes the word "Trump," expect a letter demanding you stop. That's exactly what happened to 40-year-old engineer Tom Scharfeld, developer of the iPhone app iTrump.

According to Bloomberg, Scharfeld developed the iTrump app to help teach people how to play the trumpet. He trademarked what he thought was a catchy name for the app: iTrump, and released it on the App Store for $2.99 through his one-man company SpoonJack.

A month later in January 2011, Scharfeld received a letter from Donald Trump's lawyers demanding the app be renamed so as not to tarnish "the goodwill and reputation that Mr. Trump has built over the years."

Rather than bowing to the demands of Mr Trump, Scharfeld decided to fight. Instead of finding his own lawyer, Scharfeld started reading about trademark law, the trademark process, and looking through old filings. He presented evidence proving how common the word Trump is, how it is used as a substitute for the word trumpet, and that it even appears in the Bible. Donald Trump is old, but not that old.


Trump's lawyers, as you'd expect, didn't back down and buried Scharfeld in paperwork, but undeterred he continued to fight. The first victory was when the trademark office ruled Mr Trump should drop his trademark opposition. Then Scharfeld managed to get some existing Trump trademarks canceled and another withdrawn.

Last week, the legal battle which has now lasted six years, finally ended in Scharfeld's favor. He won, and can continue to sell his iTrump app without further opposition from Donald Trump. If you'd prefer to practice playing the trombone, Scharfeld has an app for that, too.

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