DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

The BAM in Obama?

Posted in Trademarks

–Sharon Armstrong, Attorney

The Los Angeles Times reported last week on an interesting nugget – the Missile Defense Agency’s new logo sports a blue O, a red-and-white swooping swirl, and white outlining to set the image off from a blue background.

The logo looks like this:

Remind you of anything? Say, this:

The LA Times article remarks upon a “perceived similarity” between the two. However, I submit that what is more interesting than this “perceived similarity,” is what the blogosphere is discussing as the perceived message behind the MDA’s new logo. An official at the MDA, Richard Lehner, states that “[t]he symbolism of the design is that it shows missile defense as a global system to defend the US, our deployed forces and allies and friends, as depicted by the path of an interceptor missile and a flash (not a star) denoting a missile intercept.”

The Washington Post, on the other hand, asks “Is the Missile Defense Agency’s logo Obama-meets-Islam?”, pointing out that “conservatives’ charges that a logo being used by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency looks very much like a fusion of the Muslim crescent moon and star and the Obama campaign logo. Some folks even detected a similarity to the Iranian Space Agency logo.”

What I find most interesting is that, according to Mr. Lehner, the MDA began using the logo to its materials three years ago to save costs over using its previous logo. I couldn’t find any information on when the Obama logo debuted, but I’m wondering whether the blogosphere has considered the possibility that it is the Obama logo that is newer than the MDA logo.

What do you think?

  • I saw a couple of headlines about this but did not read any articles closely. I recall seeing some concern (and if there hasn’t been, maybe there should be) that the logo could suggest a missle strike against Islam, represented by the crescent. If I am not mistaken, I believe the Islamic crescent is typically rendered in red, so perhaps there is no issue here, but I wonder if Muslims would agree.

  • Kyle K.

    I definitely see the Islam connection there (but at least the logo is red, white, and blue, and lacks green). I wonder about the Obama logo. It’d be interesting to see if the two were independently developed, or who was “inspired” by the other…
    But if these were to private parties with services in, say the public policy or defense industries, I’d certainly say that a likelihood of confusion could be found.