July 7, 2008
This is what happens when you let a New York law firm represent the Boston Red Sox.
A Bostonian filed an Intent to Use application for the mark “RAD SEX.” (source). The Boston Red Sox filed an opposition on the grounds of likelihood of confusion, false connection, disparagement of the RED SOX mark, and (drum roll) because the mark is “immoral and scandalous.”
The applicant filed his answer, but the case is still in its infancy.
I’m rooting against the Red Sox — just this once. Not only do I hope that Red Sox Nation loses this dispute, but I’m pretty confident that they will. I can’t see how one entity could claim exclusive trademark rights in the four letters, RDSX. (Maybe if this were Hebrew or some other vowel-challenged language, but not in Tip O’Neil’s English). Perhaps if the applicant used a design with the same colors, or font, or something else that created some kind of mental association with the baseball team — or, if another baseball team wanted to be called the ROD SUX, then the Fenway favorites might have something to say. This just seems too tenuous of a connection for likelihood of confusion or false connection to attach. The 2(a) claim is frivolous, and I would like to see sanctions imposed against the idiot who thought to put that in the complaint.
Question: Of all the excellent law firms in Boston, the Red Sox had to go get some New York barneys to represent them? That’s freakin’ weak. No wonder they put a 2(a) claim in this complaint.
Hat Tip: TTABlog.
June 10, 2008
An enterprising individual attempted to secure trademark registration for the term BONG HITS 4 JESUS. Naturally, the USPTO rejected the application on a few grounds. The first was that the term is “merely ornamental” — a position that I agree with.
Here is where the USPTO gets really creepy – again!
In the Morse case, the Supreme Court also said the phrase BONG HITS 4 JESUS has a “paucity of alternative meanings,” and said that the message was “no doubt offensive to some.” Morse v. Frederick 127 S. Ct. at 2624. While there is no prohibition against offensive trademarks, there is no constitutional right to obtain a trademark registration. It is the nature of the potential offensiveness of the phrase BONG HITS 4 JESUS that make it scandalous and therefore not eligible for registration.
According to the attached evidence, discussed above, the proposed mark BONG HITS 4 JESUS promotes the use of illegal drugs by attributing its use to a religious figure. This is scandalous because Christians would be morally outraged by a statement that connects Jesus Christ with illegal drug use. Accordingly, the mark BONG HITS 4 JESUS is scandalous and cannot register based on the current record.
A mark that is deemed scandalous under Section 2(a) is not eligible for registration on either the Principal or Supplemental Register. TMEP §1203.01.
See US Serial No: 77305946
While the final paragraph in this is correct, the rest of it is just crap. First of all, who says that Jesus *didn’t* smoke dope? Personally, I bet he did. Second, does the USPTO think that marijuana was illegal in Judea in 20 A.D.?
I really hope that the next administration puts an end to the hiring spree of Regent University graduates in positions of authority.
February 8, 2008
I’ve been fighting formally for more than two years, and informally in every other blog posting, that there is nothing immoral or scandalous about the word fuck. See, e.g, The Fuck Brief.
Well here is proof. Watch this. If you laugh, I win.
October 4, 2007
John Welch at the TTABlog has once again done me the honor of asking me to write a guest column on a recent “immoral and scandalous” trademark case. See the post here.
September 19, 2007
I am beaming with pride that John Welch, over at the TTABlog asked me to guest blog on the TTAB’s latest affirmance of a 2(a) refusal. My discussion of the case is here.
September 17, 2007
USPTO Secretary Guitierrez seems to have a good grasp of the importance and beauty of our most cherished document, the U.S. Constitution. Consider this recent release:
Secretary Gutierrez recently announced Constitution Day, September 17, to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, and to promote public understanding and appreciation for the Constitution, its history, and its contemporary relevance.
We have compiled a listing of informational resources on the U.S. Constitution. These resources explain Constitution Day, summarize the Constitution by article and amendment, address Constitutional rights and responsibilities, provide questions and answers pertaining to the Constitution, announce activities for celebrating Constitution Day, and provide agencies resources to support training of their employees on the U.S. Constitution.
These resources provide a wealth of informative material. We invite you to join Secretary Gutierrez in visiting the following sites to learn more about how this historical document embodies the principles on which America was founded.
I certainly hope that this word trickles down to the (few) examining attorneys and (few) TTAB judges who seem to think that the First Amendment is of no importance when issuing decisions under Section 2(a).