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Will Donald Trump
fire your humble scribe?

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By Paul Niemann

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[MARCH 25, 2004]  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 trademark issue.

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 Trump.

Paul: Mr. Trump, you didn't create the "You're Fired" phrase. What makes you think you can trademark it?

Trump: You're…

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 to him?

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 Apprentice."

Trump: What?!? You don't watch my show?

Paul: That's right.

Trump: Paul, You're Fired!™ And I'm taking over your column.

[Paul Niemann]

Invention Mysteries is written each week by Paul Niemann. He can be reached at niemann7@inventionmysteries.com.

© Copyright Paul Niemann 2004

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