question.jpgIn Trademarks

What is an immoral or scandalous mark?

The Patent and Trademark Office will not allow an immoral or scandalous mark to be federally registered for trademark protection. Examples of marks found to be immoral or scandalous include BULLSHIT, used in connection with hand bags and purses, and DICK HEADS, used in a restaurant under a picture of a head graphically designed to be representative of male genitalia. Where an examiner believes a mark to be immoral or scandalous, the final determination is made by looking at the mark within the context of the relevant marketplace. For example, the mark BIG PECKER BRAND, used with shirts including bird designs, was found to be acceptable.

It should be noted that this analysis is applied to the mark itself, not the underlying goods and services. Thus, WEEK-END SEX was determined to be a valid mark for pornographic magazines, even though the magazines, themselves, may have been deemed immoral or scandalous.