In one of the more blatant attempts at censorship we've witnessed, a Minnesota politician tried to trademark the name of a politically-focused blog that often criticized her. Tax board member Carol Becker tried to take the name "Wedge LIVE!" away from its owner, John Edwards, who had been using the name for years to cover local politics. Becker first claimed she thought of the name herself, which she thought would be perfect for her yet-unrealized podcast covering… local politics.
After receiving a bit of heat from Tony Webster, John Edwards, and Edward's supporters, Becker finally admitted she was attempting to take the name away from her critic, who had built his unregistered brand over the past several years. After more backlash, she decided to withdraw her trademark applications but warned she would try again in six months if Edwards didn't register them first.
Four months later, it appears Edwards has prevailed. His post at Wedge LIVE! notes he has dropped his lawsuit against Becker seeking an injunction blocking her from filing for Wedge Live-related trademarks. Becker has agreed to drop her censorial pursuit of the name "Wedge LIVE," bringing an end to this ridiculous and particularly inept attempt to silence a critic.
The legal effort to defend Wedge LIVE from Carol Becker has ended in victory. In a settlement reached late Monday, and fully executed yesterday, Becker has acknowledged my ownership of the name “Wedge LIVE.” Additionally, Becker has agreed that she will “never assert any claim to these marks in the future.”
Perhaps this debacle will lead Becker to exit the public sector. Becker attempted to use the federal government's IP protections to undermine a critic -- one she also baselessly accused of being funded by "dark money" and called a tax fraud. She also denied being aware of Wedge LIVE!'s existence when first confronted by journalists, only belatedly admitting she knew exactly what she was doing when she filed the disingenuous trademark applications. She's proven she can't really be trusted to handle even the small part of government she's staked out.