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Vulgar Trademarks Cannot Be Federally Registered

Posted by William P. Ramey III | Dec 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

In a recent opinion, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's refusal to register a trademark because the mark was vulgar.   The law has long prohibited federal registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks.  The Court noted that scandalousness can be proven by establishing that a trademark is vulgar.  Although the Court noted that what is immoral or scandalous has evolved over time,  in the case before it (In re Marsha Fox),  the Court concluded that one of the meanings of the trademark was clearly vulgar  and, thus, while Fox was free to use her mark in commerce, she would not be allowed to federally register the mark.

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William P. Ramey III

Managing Partner; Office: Houston


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