from the trademarkus-interruptus dept
In this case, applicant seeks registration of NO FUCKS GIVEN for hats, headbands, hooded sweatshirts, pants, shirts, and wraps.Trademark application denied. So sayeth the US Patent and Trademark Office, citing -- among other things -- a handful of real dictionaries, along with the more useful "Urban Dictionary."
Certainly, a case could be made that the word "fuck" has crossed the threshold of making the fairer sex faint whenever it's uttered or whatever the standard is that turns sharper swear words into just another "damn."
That the USPTO would quote the Urban Dictionary is a small sign that it's broadening its horizons. This is cited somewhat in the registrant's defense, since the UD defines "fucks" as "the standard unit of measurement used to describe the amount an individual cares about something."
But that's the end of the good news for Michael Suo, the man who would be the king of given fucks (clothing items only). And that's the end of the USPTO's brief flirtation with comprehending common slang terms.
From that point on, it's real dictionaries all the way down, leading the USPTO to this inevitable conclusion.
Registration is refused because the applied-for standard character mark, NO FUCKS GIVEN consists of or includes immoral or scandalous matter.The USPTO notes that the public might be fine with everyone swearing like proverbial sailors, but it won't be a part of this downfall of society, thank you very much.
The fact that profane words may be uttered more freely in contemporary American society than in the past does not render such words any less profane. In re Tinseltown, Inc., 212 USPQ 863, 866 (TTAB 1981) (holding the mark BULLSHIT scandalous for handbags and other personal accessories); see In re Michalko, 110 USPQ2d 1949, 1953 (TTAB 2014) (holding the mark ASSHOLE REPELLENT scandalous for a spray can gag gift).From that point, it's simply a matter of using a single definition for the word "fuck" pulled from real dictionaries and applying it horribly to the phrase in question. The end result is something akin to a person swearing in something other than their native tongue -- i.e., badly and far too literally.
The attached evidence from Merriam-Webster and Cambridge Dictionaries Online, and others, shows the term, FUCK(S) which is obscene means to engage in coitus with. Therefore, the word FUCK(S) is scandalous because it conveys the commercial connotation of “no coitus given”.Yeah, but no. And the USPTO probably knows this, since it also cited Know Your Meme.
At no point could this picture of an unhappy owl being sprayed with water be reasonably interpreted as stating:
If Suo indeed has any fucks left to give, he's welcome to appeal the USPTO's decision. But if it's not ready to greenlight BULLSHIT, 1-800-JACK-OFF or ASSHOLE REPELLENT, chances are its fucks will remain in steady supply for the time being. That being said, Suo's lack of registered trademark won't prevent him from selling foul-mouthed headgear, etc., but it won't prevent anyone else from doing so either. And considering the phrase has pretty much pushed "I don't care" into the realm of obsolete vernacular, it's probably a good thing no one's being granted exclusive use. But hat's off to Suo for trying, even if they're of the more boring variety that lack a running total of fucks remaining to give. (h/t Metafilter)