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Published in Government Information Quarterly 26:1 (January 2009), pp. 180–185; doi 10.1016/j.giq.2008.04.003 From a special issue on “ Implementation to Adoption: Challenges to Successful E-Government Diffusion.” Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


The tribal insignia of American Indians offer a distinctive view into the history of these people. Recently, as the result of federal legislation, some of these materials have been brought together, for tribes that are either federally or State recognized entities, as part of the database collection maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This article focuses on the history and use of such images; the policy response by the USPTO to the charge by the Trademark Law Treaty Implementation Act (1998) to examine the USPTO’s specific responsibility to protect such official insignia; and the Office’s resulting digital product.