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Donald Trump Found a Way to Make Money Off Central Park

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Another day, another example of Donald Trump being a terrible person. This time, it's because of one of his more surprising sources of income: According to an Associated Press report (h/t Gothamist), back in the 1990s, the would-be Republican presidential candidate registered a non-exclusive trademark of the phrase "Central Park," and is in fact the "single biggest private, for-profit holder of Central Park trademarks on specific goods." Anyone else feeling icky yet?

According to the AP report, Trump's trademark application was first filed in 1991, when crime still kept people away from the enormous green space. It was, the AP notes, "undeniably a savvy move"—in little more than a decade, Central Park became one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, and Trump started making sweet, sweet cash off the deal. Because it's a public space, no person can hold an exclusive trademark on the phrase "Central Park," but Trump's non-exclusive trademark still nets him money on items that bear the green space's name. Per the AP:

A 2007 trademark allowed him to put the park's name on dozens of Trump-branded furniture and lighting options. Beds, tables, desks, lamps, flashlights, picture frames and throw pillows all bore the names "Central Park" and "Donald Trump." A glossy, 44-page furniture catalog boasted photos of the "elegant and rich" furnishings with stylized shots of the park and Trump. Because "Donald Trump" and "elegance" totally belong in the same sentence together.

A spokesperson for Trump wouldn't reveal how much money he's made from holding that trademark (he also owns trademarks on "Westchester" and "Fifth Avenue"), but did tout the mogul's Central Park bona fides, which include putting his name on the ice-skating rink at the park's southern end, and owning several buildings that are near the green space (including the Plaza Hotel for a spell).

Predictably, the De Blasio administration isn't too keen on this: Spokesperson Monica Klein told the AP, "Nobody has ownership of the words 'Central Park.' It is a public space, with a city-owned logo." That last part is true: the park has its own official logo, courtesy the city and the Central Park Conservancy, which Trump cannot use on merchandise. Still, it's maybe not a bad idea to reconsider the next time you want to buy some unofficial Central Park swag.…
· Trademarked: Trump makes money off the name 'Central Park' [AP]
· Donald Trump Is Making Very Classy Money Off Trademarking "Central Park" [Gothamist]