Flight 93 charity seeks 'Let's roll' trademark
From Michael Okwu
(CNN) -- The foundation named for United Airlines Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer has applied for a trademark on his defiant last words.
Beamer is believed to have rushed the plane's cockpit with other passengers to help overpower hijackers before the plane went down September 11 in western Pennsylvania.
While using an onboard phone to call the FBI, the 32-year-old account manager with Oracle Corp. was overheard saying "Let's roll."
Since then, the commonly used words have become a September 11 catch phrase. Singer Neil Young used it in a song, and President Bush sought to make it a rallying cry.
Now the Todd M. Beamer Foundation wants to trademark it to sell hats, T-shirts and mugs in his memory.
The foundation says this was not the idea of Todd's widow, Lisa Beamer. But she approves of the plan to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to benefit the children who lost parents on Flight 93.
"The trademarking of 'Let's roll' is a strictly preventive measure from our standpoint," foundation executive director Doug MacMillan said. "We want to limit its use. We want to be able to protect it, and we want to utilize that to benefit the children."
Thousands of phrases are trademarked, including "hot potato" and "let's talk," which Avon owns.
Thirteen other entities also have applied to trademark "Let's roll." Trademark experts say even though two of them applied before the foundation, the public associates the phrase with Todd Beamer, and that gives the foundation a legal advantage.
Michigan contractor Jack L. Williams, 59, submitted an application for a trademark on the phrase two days before the Beamer foundation, citing T-shirts and sweatshirts as potential uses.
He said he ignored a warning letter from its lawyers.
"I don't care what your name is, it's first in, first swim," he told The Associated Press. "It's all about good old American capitalism."
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