Is Obama no Friend to Printing?

WASHINGTON, DC—Judging by a few recent developments, it’s hard to blame printers for feeling that the U.S. president himself is taking an anti-printing stance. And, some may argue that it’s not just GOP paranoia on the heels of the 2012 election.

President Obama’s re-election campaign might be swapping out the “yes, we can” slogan for a more austere “no, you may not or I’ll take you to court.” The campaign did just that, filing suit against DC-based Washington Promotions & Printing (and its Website,, alleging trademark and unfair competition violations via the sale of items featuring the “Rising Sun” logo used in Obama’s campaigns, Reuters reported.

The suit contends that Washington Promotions & Printing’s products will make consumers believe the company is associated with Obama for America, hurting the campaign’s ability to make money off of merchandise with the Rising Sun logo. Obama for America is seeking a court order to halt the sale of the products, along with an accounting and award of profits, damages and attorney fees.

In a separate action, President Obama has also signed an executive order that directs federal agencies to, among other things, stop printing documents that can be posted online; and end the practice of buying swag—plaques, clothing and other “unnecessary” promotional items. The order reportedly will cut spending by 20 percent, providing billions in savings.

The executive order directs agencies to provide written information electronically and to limit hard-copy documents. Some agencies have begun doing this; the U.S. Department of the Treasury plans to reduce spending on printing by increasing the number of paperless transactions it conducts with the public.

Treasury expects to reduce printing costs by up to 24 percent in fiscal year 2012. The move is also anticipated to save more than $500 million and 12 million pounds of paper during its first five years alone.