VA registers 'GI Bill' as a trademark

Tuesday - 12/4/2012, 9:44am EST

By Katie Howard
Federal News Radio

The GI Bill is now a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced it is now the sole owner of the phrase.

VA will issue its terms of use for "GI Bill" within the next six months.

"Trademarking 'GI Bill' is a great step forward in continuing our mission to better serve this nation's service members, veterans, and their families," said Allison Hickey, VA's undersecretary for benefits.

In April, President Obama signed Executive Order 13607, directing the VA, the Defense Department, and the Education Department to undertake a number of measures to "stop deceptive and misleading" promotional efforts that target the recipients of the GI Bill's educational benefits including service members, veterans, and their eligible family members and survivors.

One of the key components of the order was for VA to register the term "GI Bill" as a trademark in order to protect individuals researching the program and ensure they are directed to reputable GI Bill resources to help make informed decisions.

Under the terms, VA also obtained the rights to the GIBill.com website after the original owners agreed to give up the address. VA will be taking a more proactive approach in continuously taking action to eliminate fraudulent marketing and recruiting practices as well, according to the agency.

"We want to ensure the right balance with these new guidelines so that our stakeholders can still promote GI Bill and we can prohibit others from using it fraudulently," said Curtis Coy, deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity.

Since August 2009, VA has paid over $23.8 billion in post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to over 866,000 veterans, service members, and dependents. VA received over 478,000 Fall 2012 enrollments for post-9/11 GI Bill.

"We will continue to support our veterans by helping them obtain the best education of their choosing - a right for which they have bravely served, and which they have truly earned," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. "We all want veterans to be informed consumers in their educational pursuit."