Judge Does Mental Gymnastics To Deem Left Nut Brewing Trademark To Be Non-Offensive

from the paging-the-redskins dept

We had just been talking about the awkward place the Washington Redskins most recent legal filing has left the government in, regarding the team's trademark. In that filing, the team pointed out the sheer hypocrisy of the government's stance that the term "Redskins" is too offensive to receive trademark registration status, yet the government has seen fit to award that status to all kinds of terms and phrases that are equally if not more offensive on any number of levels. But it isn't only for already-registered marks that the awkwardness exists. For new applications too, the courts now have to weigh whether offense applies to granting new trademarks. And, frankly, it's causing some in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to employ some serious mental gymnastics when ruling.

The most recent example of this concerns a brewery out of Georgia named Left Nut Brewing Company. A recent ruling has allowed the brewery to trademark its name.

On November 16, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decided to allow a Georgia-based brewery to register their name as a trademark . Established about 30 years ago, “Left Nut Brewing Company” will finally be allowed to register after the reversal of an examiner’s decision that the brewery’s name was too vulgar for registration.
To get the appeal board to allow this, the brewery pointed to langauge on its own website about how the name was derived. The site claims that its name is not of the vernacular one might initially think, but is instead a vernacular use with, according to the site, a different meaning.
Instead, it is “built on a vernacular which epitomizes the willingness to give up something of extreme value to do something or create something unique.” In allowing the name to become a trademark, Judge Shaw used such meaning for the phrase to defend his ruling saying that the figure of speech can mean a multitude of things and only one was arguably vulgar.
Okay, let's not play around. The only meaning this refers to is indeed about a willingness to give up something of value: a man's left-leaning testicle. That's it. That's what left nut means. Now, I happen to love the brewery's name and think it should be adopted in every kind of industry, but the claims about the name having some other etherial meaning is laughable at best. But the judge's ruling claims to have bought the brewery's argument so as to grant it a trademark.

What's becoming clear is that even having to go through these mental gymnastics is dumb and nothing more than a waste of time. The easiest solution would be for the government to get out of the offense-measurement business entirely on trademark matters.


Reader Comments

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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:20am

    Fuck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:19am

    But wait...!

    You mean "left nut" isn't about the only remaining kernel of a Walnut tree?
    Damn! Wrong again!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:55am

    Comparing moral outrage to oppression, nice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 9:12am

      so what term would you use for a blanket term for Native Americans? should all the sports teams have non-offensive names/mascots? how far will that go? Someone, somewhere, WILL find something offensive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:33am

    I couldn't see any resemblance to Wun Hung Lo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:35am

    Timothy has really gone off the deep end on this article. Left Nut isn't offensive whereas redskins is an insensitive use of the word that is on the same level as an ethnic slur.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      John Smith, 25 Nov 2015 @ 4:57am

      Re:

      Left Nut isn't offensive...

      How dare you! I'm offended that you would even suggest that it isn't offensive, much less come right out and publicly state it! Why don't you go crawl back under your anonymous rock?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:54am

      Re:

      There are two uses for "Left Nut" that I have heard. The first being the one referenced here "I would give up my left nut for..." and the second has the words "Left Nut" preceded by "Suck my". Both are in reference to one vary particular part of the male anatomy.

      Is it offensive? It's definitely vulgar, so yes, to a lot of people it is offensive. Especially the "Suck my" usage.

      But you're going to focus on the first usage, the one that's less vulgar and slightly less offensive to some. Well, it's been said that the name "Redskins" is not in reference to the ethnic slur, but to the bravery and strength of the Native Americans. So if we're still fighting against "Redskins" because of it's one offensive meaning, then we have to fight this one because of it's one offensive meaning.

      Now, to be perfectly clear, I don't think the US government should have any say on what is offensive and what isn't. For the same reason we have the First Amendment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 8:07am

      Re:

      What is and is not offensive is 100% subjective. Redskins or left nut might offend one person and not another. Labeling words as offensive without taking context and intent into consideration is just prejudicing based on vernacular.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 8:32am

        Re: Re:

        I don't think it should matter either way, as I don't think "offensiveness" should be a criteria when granting trademark protection.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:43am

    how about let society choose if they care about a product name??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:51am

    I think that Timothy's Left Nut has done a mental 360 degree turn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 25 Nov 2015 @ 4:03am

    Wouldn't Left Arm Brewing have been simpler (and of way more value, too)... what with the logo and all? (nut-shmut, man)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 4:09am

    Redskins is not offensive, either. Sorry, PC-bros. Pull your heads out of your poopchutes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 4:36am

    AC, Redskins is an ethnic slur against Native Americans, you should really do your homework. It makes you look less stupid than you really are. Redskins is an ethnic slur just like spics, Japs and the N-word.

    Just because you think it's ridiculous doesn't mean it's still not an ethnic slur.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 4:44am

      Re:

      AC14, I guess that depends on who you ask. It's apparently NOT offensive to most. And no, it's not just like the n word, not even close, never has been.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 6:21am

      Re:

      only a ninny would treat this as a slur

      I have native american blood myself enough to register as well but I do not feel offended in the slightest.

      I rather take this view when it comes to being offended.

      [quote]
      Only a fool would be offended by something not intended to offend them, and it is a greater fool that is offended by something meant to offended them for they have played into the hands of their enemy.

      ~cant remember

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:31am

        Re: Re:

        β€œHe who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.”
        ― Brigham Young

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 8:39am

      Re: Redskins is an ethnic slur against Native Americans

      You're being deliberately obtuse.

      All names of professional sports teams that I'm aware of are terms of admiration or have positive associations.

      (If you know of any counter-examples at all, I'd love to hear about them.)

      If "redskins" has multiple meanings, it's obvious that the positive interpenetration was intended.

      Nobody names their team after something they despise.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:12pm

        Re: Re: Redskins is an ethnic slur against Native Americans

        'the positive interpenetrations'

        I know it is a typo, but I laughed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2015 @ 5:06am

      Re:

      "Redskins is an ethnic slur just like spics, Japs and the N-word."

      See any prejudices here?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 28 Nov 2015 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      > you should really do your homework

      God, I hate this lame phrase.

      For f*ck's sake: no one has homework assignments on the internet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 5:29am

    people born close the niger river...
    are they called the n word?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:41am

    In other words, it's a figure of speech and not to be taken literally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:54am

    The only people Left Nut would be offensive to would be politicians or maybe guys who have had their right nut removed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 8:30am

    The problem is that we have become a society that uses politically correct in every aspect of our society and it's become so over-top-top that it's almost ridiculous.

    Every time I hear someone trying to be politically correct, I just laugh aloud, roll my eyes at the ceiling and shake my head in disbelief.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 8:42am

      Re:

      WE have?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 8:48am

      Re:

      I have the theory that the logistics needed to keep track of what bullshit the PC trends come up everyday ...
      are so expensive that it is impossible to follow and be PC compliant

      it is like trying to work on a windows pc while it updates and restarts every 30 mins, you just can`t afford it

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mb, 25 Nov 2015 @ 10:39am

    Up next the Giant Cock Brewery with it's huge rooster logo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:37pm

    Clarity

    What's becoming clear is that even having to go through these mental gymnastics is dumb and nothing more than a waste of time.

    What's clear is this is yet another judge who first comes to his conclusion and then comes up with legal reasoning to get there, rather than the other way around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:20pm

    Left Nut is short for...

    Left-wing Nut-job. No wonder a right wing judge would approve of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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