WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that GI Bill is now a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and VA is the sole owner of the mark.
“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 K. Shinseki. “We all want veterans to be informed consumers in their educational pursuit.”
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) praised the VA’s announcement. “I am so pleased that ‘GI Bill’ is now a registered trademark of the VA,” Boxer said. “This is an important step toward ending the predatory practices that for-profit schools use to target our veterans and ensuring that veterans have access to accurate, comprehensive information about their education benefits.”
In March, Boxer led a group of 14 Senators in asking VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to file a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the phrase “GI Bill” to combat this growing problem.
On April 26, President Obama signed Executive Order 13607, directing the VA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Education to undertake a number of measures to “stop deceptive and misleading” promotional efforts that target the GI Bill educational benefits of servicemembers, veterans, and 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 and ensure they are directed to the right resources to make informed decisions.
In addition, VA obtained the rights to the GIBill.com Web site after the original owners agreed to give up the site.
VA is taking a proactive approach in continuously taking action to eliminate fraudulent marketing and recruiting practices.
“Trademarking ‘GI Bill’ is a great step forward in continuing our mission to better serve this nation’s servicemembers, veterans and their families,” said Allison A. Hickey, VA undersecretary for benefits.
“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 L. Coy, deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity.
Since August 2009, VA has paid over $23.8 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to more than 866,000 veterans, servicemembers and dependents.
VA received more than 478,000 fall 2012 enrollments for Post-9/11 GI Bill.
For more information on GI Bill programs, please visit www.gibill.va.gov or call 1-888-GI-Bill-1 (1-888-442-4551) to speak with a GI Bill representative.