Denver Direct: Flag This! (Part 2)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Flag This! (Part 2)

Denver City Flag
Madison Campaign Literature
Years ago I worked in a trademark law office in Washington, D.C. It was my job to see if our clients’ proposed trademark was “confusingly similar” to existing trademarks. In those days it was a manual search, looking through “boots” of paper registrations. One had to be very careful with the use of symbols and signs.

So it was with interest that I first noticed Madison’s use of the Denver City Flag in all of her campaign materials and yard signs. I figured they wouldn’t be stupid enough to just appropriate the City flag without permission or acknowledgement. Its use seemed to me to be “confusing” in the sense that it looked like a subtle City endorsement of the Madison campaign.


From: Gerald Trumbule
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 12:36 PM
To: Lynn Kimbrough
Subject: Denver City Flag

Can you direct me to any ordinances or rules governing the use of the Denver City Flag in advertising? See Thanks for the info.

Gerald Trumbule


Mr. Trumbule, I don’t have this information, but have asked my colleagues in the Mayor’s Office to find the right person to help. They should contact you soon.

Lynn Kimbrough
Communications Director
Denver DA’s Office
201 West Colfax Avenue, Dept. 801
Denver, Colorado 80202


From: Sargeson, Stacey L. – OED
To: Gerald Trumbule
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 4:36 PM
Subject: Denver City Flag

Mr. Trumbule,
I wanted to get back to your regarding your inquiry on rules or ordinances in regards to the Denver City flag.

I checked with our attorneys and although there are currently no ordinances in place regarding use of the City flag, we do have common law rights. Therefore, the use of the City flag by private persons or entities for non-City purposes is strongly discouraged. If the City has not granted permission for use of the flag, we will ask those using the City flag to cease and desist use or, alternatively, print the following language near the depiction of the flag:

“Use of the City flag is done without permission of the City and County of Denver. The City and County of Denver is in no way associated with this business (or individual as the case may be) and the City in no way endorses, approves, nor sponsors the products and services referenced in this publication.”

Thank you for your email.


Stacey Rohrer
Denver Marketing Office
City and County of Denver

From: Gerald Trumbule
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 4:52 PM
To: Sargeson, Stacey L. – OED
Subject: Denver City Flag

Thanks for your reply. I guess my next question is: Does the Madison campaign have specific permission to use the City flag as indicated here: without the language you specify. And if not, should the City issue a cease and desist order.

Thanks for looking into this.

Gerald Trumbule


To my knowledge, they do not have permission. Vicki Ortega and I are going to place a call to the Madison campaign staff early next week. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and we will definitely follow up.