Thursday, August 31, 2017
A Santa Barbara native recently won a six-year trademark battle with the Trump Organization over the use of the name iTrump, an app that teachers use to play a virtual trumpet. Tom Scharfeld refused to change the name of the app after President Donald Trump’s attorneys tried to block him from registering the trademark.
Because of a counterclaim filed by Scharfeld, Trump cannot claim exclusive domain over the Trump name in reality TV shows and computer games.
Scharfeld, a 40-year-old engineer, graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1994. Even though he had no experience in litigation, he decided to represent himself for economic reasons. “I just took it step by step and did a lot of homework,” he said in an email. He lives in San Francisco but regularly visits his parents and sister in Santa Barbara.
“Trump’s approach throughout the litigation was to obfuscate, delay, and play games in hopes of wearing me down, and wasting my time and money so that I’d give up and, failing that, forcing me to trial without adequate preparation,” he said. He added Trump’s attorneys sent him thousands of documents that he claimed were useless while withholding important ones.
An attorney for Trump declined media requests for comment.
A self-described “amateur musician,” Scharfeld toured Europe with his high school jazz band. “That inspired all of us,” he said. He played trombone at Santa Barbara High School and La Colina Junior High. He also was known to pitch a 90 mph fastball. His father, Lee Scharfeld, served on the Santa Barbara school board.
Scharfeld said the presidential election had no noticeable impact on iTrump sales. But the news of the legal decision has boosted the app’s popularity. He said “major and minor” updates are coming.
The decision is not necessarily precedent setting, he said, but legal filings “will be of use to any party that finds itself defending against Trump.”