Federal Circuit Allows Registration of Immoral and Scandalous Trademarks

3 01 2018

NSFW Disclaimer: This post contains strong language that may not be suitable for work.

The Law
Up until a few weeks ago, the law was that you could not register a trademark with the Patent and Trademark Office that included immoral or scandalous material. For years, 15 U.S. Code § 1052(a) (otherwise known as §2(a) of the Latham Act) prevented registration of trademarks such as BUBBY TRAP for bras, 1-800-JACK-OFF for a phone sex operation, PUSSY for non-alcoholic beverages, and COCK SUCKER for rooster-shaped chocolate lollipops. That all changed on December 15, 2017.

The Case
On December 15, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the portion of §2(a) of the Latham Act forbidding the registration of trademarks containing immoral or scandalous material was unconstitutional. The case arose when Erik Brunetti tried to register his clothing trademark “FUCT” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The examining attorney refused the registration, arguing that “FUCT” was the past
tense of the verb “fuck,” and therefore was scandalous and unregistrable under §2(a) of the Latham Act.



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