Gianoulis' 'Deb!' Too Close to 'Jeb!' for Bush; A TRADEMARK Stop That, Says Rep for Former Governor, a Thrasher Backer; She Already Has

Article excerpt

Byline: TIA MITCHELL

The colors are the same. As are the last two letters. And the exclamation point.

And that, apparently, was enough for a lawyer working for former Gov. Jeb Bush to tell state Senate candidate Deborah Gianoulis to knock it off.

Tallahassee attorney Wiley Horton wrote Gianoulis a cease-and-desist letter last week accusing her of violating federal trademark laws by using a red-and-white "Deb!" logo for her campaign. The letter says "Deb!" is a rip-off of "Jeb!" - the trademark registered to Bush.

Horton told the Times-Union on Wednesday that one of the former governor's foundations contacted him and asked that he intervene with the Jacksonville Democrat's campaign. Bush supports her Republican opponent, incumbent John Thrasher.

Horton's letter said the "Deb!" logo uses the same font and scheme as the "Jeb!" logo, although it is clear that the fonts are different. Horton said Wednesday the "Jeb!" trademark owners are worried that the "Deb!" logo might create some confusion and give people the impression that the two are somehow affiliated, though Bush is not running for office.

The Gianoulis campaign said it has stopped using the logo.

Bush's "Jeb!" posters became ubiquitous on the campaign trail during his 1994, 1998 and 2002 election battles for governor. The trademark remains property of the 2002 Bush-Brogan campaign, Horton said.

A Thrasher spokeswoman, Sarah Bascom, denied his campaign's involvement Wednesday.

Gianoulis shrugged off her use of the "Deb!" logo, saying it is a nickname she's always been called. She debuted it on June 22, when she announced her candidacy for the District 8 seat and said at the time she didn't think about the "Deb! …