There was a story in
the news last week about Donald Trump's plan to trademark the phrase
"You're Fired," since it's become the highlight of his hit reality
show, "The Apprentice." The following is excerpted from a recent
conversation that I did not have with Donald Trump over this
Paul: So what's this about
your plan to trademark the phrase, "You're Fired?" You can't
trademark a phrase that's been in use for hundreds of years. And you
can't fire me, because I'm not on your reality show.
Trump: Sure I can. I'm Donald
Paul: Mr. Trump, you didn't
create the "You're Fired" phrase. What makes you think you can
Paul: (interrupting) I once
knew a guy who worked at an ammunition factory. He got fired.
Literally. You know what his boss said to him?
Trump: No, what?
Paul: "You're fired!" Then
there was the guy who worked as a taste tester at a brewery. He got
fired. Got caught drinking on the job. You know what his boss said
Trump: No, what?
Paul: "You're fired!" And then
there was the government worker who got caught sleeping on the job.
You know what his boss said to him?
Trump: "You're fired?"
[to top of
second column in this article]
Paul: No, the boss promoted
him, but that's beside the point. The bottom line is that you didn't
invent the phrase -- you only made it famous. Why don't you take a
cue from Jane Pauley of the "Today Show"? She didn't try to
trademark her "bad hair day" phrase.
Trump: I'm not Jane Pauley. And
I've never had a bad hair day.
Paul: Uh, yeah, right. Let's
not go there. Why beat a dead horse?
Trump: Lakers coach Pat Riley
trademarked the "three-peat" phrase after his team won two straight
NBA titles during the '90s, so I should be able to trademark the
"You're Fired" phrase. It just makes good business sense.
Paul: But you didn't create
the phrase. What are you going to try to trademark next -- the
"You're Hired!" phrase?
Trump: Good idea. I'll have my
people look into it.
Paul: You know, Donald, this
is all really a nonissue to me because I don't even watch "The
Trump: What?!? You don't watch
Paul: That's right.
Paul, You're Fired!™ And I'm taking over your column.
Invention Mysteries is written each
week by Paul Niemann. He can be reached at
Paul Niemann 2004