Woman trying to trademark 'I can't breathe' should have a seat

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Eric Garner’s last words have become the slogan of a new movement. “I can’t breathe” is now everywhere. It’s a hashtag for people’s frustrations over the sense that Black lives are being hunted. It’s on T-shirts, to show solidarity with nationwide protests and to make a statement. Activists, celebrities, and everyday people are chanting “I can’t breathe,” because every time another Black person is killed by a cop without consequence, we feel like WE CANNOT BREATHE. It’s a continuous punch to our collective chests.

“I can’t breathe” now belongs to the people. This is why it’s completely ridiculous that a woman named Catherine Crump has filed a trademark application for the phrase. The Smoking Gun reported that the woman from Waukegan, IL, submitted the application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on December 13. She wants to use the phrase for T-shirts and hoodies. She said she’s been using it in commerce since August 18, a month after Eric Garner uttered those words.

According to The Smoking Gun,

“In an interview, Crump said that she had “nothing to do with the Garner family,” and had not spoken to them about her trademark bid. While claiming that her purpose for marketing “I can’t breathe” garments was not to make money, she declined to disclose what other reason there was for her trademark filing (which cost $325).“

I know all’s fair in love and capitalism but this level of greed is so disgusting and appalling. How dare she try to claim ownership of any sort of a dying man’s words? On a scale of 1 to kick an orphan, this is on level “steal from the homeless.”

First of all, she says she has nothing to do with the Garners. EXACTLY. That means she needs to not try to get a legal entity to put a formal stamp on her profiting off the death of their father, uncle, grandfather and beloved. The fact that she doesn’t know them from Adam means she shouldn’t be filing for the trademark.

If ANYONE has the right to claim these words as theirs, it’s his family members. They are the ones who should be compensated in some way for Eric’s wrongful and unjust death. It’s the family that is one provider less, not some woman from Waukegan who wants to make a quick buck off their loss.

AND don’t piss on all of us and tell us it’s a golden sky shower! How do you say you’re not filing for a trademark to make money but you wanna sell hoodies and T-shirts? This comes off as woefully obtuse and foolish.

I’m no intellectual property lawyer, but I highly doubt that the USPTO will approve this application, because people are allowed to challenge every app that is sent to them. Catherine Crump will have a hard time proving that she used this phrase for commercial purposes first. Plus, this phrase has become so common that she really can’t claim ownership of it. Her application will be denied, and she needs to go occupy every seat in a 10 mile radius.

Still, the unmitigated gall it takes to even file this application makes me wanna dropkick a teddy bear into rush hour traffic. People got some NERVE! YOU TRIED IT, CATHERINE!

P.S. I’m hoping she’s at least Black too. I’ve been looking at reports, and her ethnicity hasn’t been disclosed. Which basically tells me she’s probably white. Since that’s considered “default.” See? Don’t get me started. **fights the air like Cuba Gooding Jr. in Boyz In the Hood**

Luvvie is a professional troublemaker and writer who talks pop culture at Awesomely Luvvie, technology at Awesomely Techie and is the head behind DumbestTweets.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@Luvvie), Facebook and Instagram.