Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) canceled the trademark on the Redskins name. The internet and in particular social media have exploded with the news, with folks celebrating this as an achievement in race relations or a condemning it as an example of government and political correctness run amok. But one Twitter user pondered the precedent. What other trademarks could be considered offensive?
Anyone can file an offensive trademark. The question is what will this latest decision do to registrations?— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) June 18, 2014
Howe, a trademark expert, researched other registered marks to find offensive names. In the course of looking into it, some pretty amazing registered trademarks that are not in dispute were uncovered. This is just a sample.
If you follow the link, you'll be taken to the record for a registered trademark, found at the USPTO website.
Yes, that is a trademark for FAG. FAG is a mark for "technical lubricating oils and greases." Yep. The mark is registered and is not pending cancelation. This is not offensive according to the USPTO.
Stinky Gringo is a type of premixed alcoholic cocktails. It is not, as one might assume, a reference to Alan Grayson. Of course, these are not directly related. How about marks that are along the exact same lines as the team that shall not be named? Are there any marks like that? As you might imagine, there are.
But it gets better.
I’ve found 15 live registered trademarks at the USPTO with “Redskins” in their name. We canceling all those too?— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) June 18, 2014
That's right, the Washington Redskins are not the only Redskins in the USPTO database. Here are some registered Redskins trademarks:
The USPTO has many offensive registered trademarks. And the team that shall not be named once had theirs registered, too. But they don't any more. It might lead some to call the USPTO, well ...