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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Veteran's Benefits / Trademarking Could Prevent Some GI Bill Scams

Trademarking Could Prevent Some GI Bill Scams

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, which has come to be known as the GI Bill, was intended to offer a heartfelt thanks to the man and women who fought for freedom in World War II by funding their higher education.

All too often, it has been used to dupe the very people it was intended to help.

At last, though, some measure of protection has been afforded to veterans from scam artists. The GI Bill is now a registered trademark.

“For most of its existence the popular government program did just fine without a trademark,” according to a posting on the website Law.com. “But repeated complaints about fraudulent marketing and recruiting practices aimed at military families eligible for federal education loans under the GI Bill prompted the government to seek a trademark for the GI Bill from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“Some intellectual property lawyers have argued that trademarking a government program as well established as the GI Bill is an inappropriate use of the law. Trademarks are generally used to identify and distinguish goods and services, they say, and are for the exclusive commercial use of their owners. The GI Bill is technically a law, and it isn’t selling anything. Nevertheless, President Barack Obama signed an executive order in April directing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the Department of Education to take measures to ‘stop deceptive and misleading’ promotional efforts that target beneficiaries of the GI Bill.”

“Trademarking ‘GI Bill’ is a great step forward in continuing our mission to better serve this nation’s service members, veterans and their families,” Allison Hickey, Department of Veterans Affairs undersecretary for benefits, was quoted as telling FederalNewsRadio.com.

“We want to ensure the right balance with these new guidelines so that our stakeholders can still promote GI Bill and we can prohibit others from using it fraudulently,” the website quoted Curtis Coy, deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity, as saying.

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