Government rejects bid to trademark name "Obama bin Laden"

Alexandre Batlle's attempt to trademark an unusual name that could sell T-shirts has been given a thumbs-down by the government.

The name? "Obama bin Laden."

Batlle's trademark application was rejected because it made false connections between Osama bin Laden and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, and contained "immoral or scandalous matter," according to Karen Bush, a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office lawyer.

Batlle has six months to appeal the decision.

Batlle, who paid $325 (EUR247) for the application, continues to sell T-shirts and mugs with the name "Obama bin Laden" on his Web site. He is expecting sales to pick up during the 2008 presidential campaign. The Illinois senator is bidding to become the first black to be elected president.

Before the name can be approved as a trademark, Batlle, of Miami Beach, needs permission from both bin Laden and Obama, Bush said, reports AP.

Batlle said he did not intend to offend anyone and he considers himself more Democrat than Republican. "I'm not trying to say Obama's a terrorist. It was something I talked about with my friends, and we all had a good laugh about it."

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