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Waukegan Woman Attempts To Trademark The Phrase 'I Can't Breathe'

(CBS) – "I can't breathe."

Those three words make up one big phrase that's become a rallying cry for protests across the country. A north suburban woman says those words should belong to her, CBS 2's Pamela Jones reports.

The phrase was the last uttered by New York's Eric Garner before he died as police attempted to arrest him. Pro basketballers have sported it on T-shirts.

Soon, however, if LeBron James wants to rock "I Can't Breathe" gear, he may have to get it from a Waukegan woman.

That's right: Catherine L. Crump, who lists an apartment as her address, has filed paperwork in an attempt to trademark the phrase "I Can't Breathe."

She could not be reached for comment. But a Chicago copyright lawyer, Daliah Saper, heard about the case. She says it's no slam dunk for the applicant, who has filed paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The application says Crump would use the phrase on clothing like sweatshirts and T-shirts.

"In legal terms … you can't just use a phrase to sell something. You have to show that it's a brand," Saper says.

She says it could take a year for Crump to find out whether she'll get the trademark.


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