TAKING BRAND PROTECTION A LITTLE TOO FAR…. We’ve come to expect some oddities from the former half-term governor of Alaska, but this seems unusual, even for Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin has become an industry. The former Alaskan governor has had books deals, starred in a reality television show and set up a political PAC that raised $3.5 million last year. Through midterm election endorsements, broadcast on her 2.7 million-fan Facebook page or via her 400,000 follower Twitter feed, Palin has cemented alliances to new GOP governors such as South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and various members of Congress.

But Palin is more than just a former mayor, governor, vice presidential candidate and political force. She has catapulted over most politicians to a status of entertainment icon. She has become a brand — and she’s trying to protect it by trademarking her name.

The Palin brand is so valuable, that other family members are in on it. Sarah Palin’s 20-year-old daughter, Bristol, is a well-compensated spokeswomen on sexual abstinence for the Candie’s Foundation, has become a reality star in her own right on “Dancing with the Stars” and may land a job as a radio show host in Arizona.

And these savvy women are taking all the prudent steps a brand holder does to protect an asset. In the last several months, Politics Daily has learned that the Palin family lawyer, Alaska attorney Thomas Van Flein, has filed applications to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to trademark “Sarah Palin” and “Bristol Palin.”

It’s not altogether clear what kind of activities the Palins want to prevent — I guess Tina Fey should be concerned? — or why the former governor’s daughter would feel the need to trademark her name, too.

What’s more, in case anyone’s wondering how common this is, neither President Obama nor any of the likely Republican presidential candidates have taken the step of trying to trademark their names.

Nevertheless, at least for the time being, when we put an “R” after Palin’s name, we’ll be referring to her party affiliation, not the legal designation for her trademark. The application with the PTO can’t go through — Palin never signed the paperwork.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.