Waukegan woman seeks trademark on ‘I Can’t Breathe’ to sell T-shirts

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Members of the Georgetown basketball team stand for the national anthem before an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas in Washington. Dozens of athletes in recent weeks have responded to confrontations between authorities and black citizens in Ferguson, Mo., New York and elsewhere by wearing T-shirts bearing such statements as “I Can’t Breathe” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” | Nick Wass / AP

WAUKEGAN — A north suburban woman is trying to trademark “I CAN’T BREATHE” — the phrase that has become a nationwide refrain for protestors of police brutality against minorities — for commercial use on clothing.

Catherine L. Crump, of the 200 block of North Green Bay in Waukegan, petitioned for rights to the phrase on Dec. 13, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Crump claims she has been using the phrase for commercial purposes since August 18 and looks to continue using it on T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts for men, women, children and infants, her petition says.

Protests erupted across the country earlier this month when a New York grand jury declined to indict a white police officer who put a headlock on Eric Garner, an African American man whose last words — ”I can’t breathe” — were caught on camera.


Word Mark I CAN’T BREATHE Goods and Services IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: Clothing, namely hoodies, t-shirts for men, women, boys, girls and infants. FIRST USE: 20140818. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20140818 Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK Serial Number 86479784 Filing Date December 13, 2014 Current Basis 1A Original Filing Basis 1A Owner (APPLICANT) Crump, Catherine L. INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 206 N. Green Bay Rd., Apt. 408 Waukegan ILLINOIS 60085 Type of Mark TRADEMARK Register PRINCIPAL Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

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