After my latest post on the rejection of FUCK as a registered trademark for apparel, I offer all you aficionados of sweary trademarks another roundup of registrations.
Around 100 FUCK-formative trademarks are registered at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). That’s not including a bunch of sanitized-ish FOX, FVCKs, and similar close calls. In addition to TOM FORD FUCKING FABULOUS — the derivation of which was explored fabulously by my fellow Strong Language contributor Nancy Friedman — other registered fucking marks include:
FUCK IT! for “noodle-based prepared meals”
GOOD FUCKING for wine and other alcoholic beverages
GET THE FUCK OUT OF BED for coffee beans
FUCK PROOF for mascara
The following design mark is registered for podcast productions, which the producers intriguingly describe as “a true crime comedy podcast about cults, murder and other generally fucked up stuff”:
For decades, it would have been a complete waste of your time to apply to register FUCK at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Same with F*CK, FXCK, F CK, FUK, FUX, FUHKIT, and the like. Images of a raised middle finger? Also entirely out of the question.
Then, in 2019, the Supreme Court struck down the statutory bar on registering “scandalous” trademarks. That decision opened the door to all sorts of fucking shit on the trademark register, in the name of free speech.
Or did it?
Erik Brunetti, the plaintiff who won at the Supreme Court and ultimately registered FUCT, then tried to register plain old FUCK. In June of 2021, an examining attorney refused Brunetti’s application for FUCK for sunglasses, cell phone cases, jewelry, a variety of types of bags, and retail services. Many of the same goods for which he’d already registered FUCT. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) – essentially the appellate court of the USPTO – has agreed with that conclusion.
So scandalous trademarks are generally registrable, but FUCK isn’t? What the actual . . . heck?
In her latest post for Strong Language, “Feelthy Brand Names,” Nancy Friedman shared some “naughty-sounding brand names,” as she nicely summed it up on her blog. No sooner had I enjoyed her post than I came across this gem on the road while stopped on my way home from work:
Naive or knowing? I couldn’t track down a lot of information about this curiously named company, so I can’t be sure. If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon called “morning wood,” let’s just you should move out of the way of pubescent schoolboys who, on their way to class in the morning, are carrying their textbooks in a manner so conveniently positioned at waist level. Here’s a scientific explanation from–I couldn’t resist–Upworthy. It won’t put you to sleep, even if that’s what’s behind nocturnal penile tumescence. (I wonder why the term “morning wood” proved so sticky?) Continue reading →
The use of the earthy “haven’t got a pot to piss in” caught my eye, especially because of the contrast with the $125,000 chamberpot. (Some pot! Some piss!) I wondered about the idiom–how old is it? American or British?–and about whether attitudes toward this particular four-letter word, one of the infamous seven you can’t say on television, are shifting. Continue reading →