Left Nuts are Not Scandalous

LNB-Logo-1250x660In 2013, some guys in Georgia ditched their careers to make beer. They wisely filed to register their seriously awesome trademark: LEFT NUT BREWING CO.

Unwisely, the Trademark Office examiner refused their application because she thought a substantial composite of the general public would consider their trademark shocking to the sense of decency.

I’m not making this up.

The examiner wouldn’t relent, so the guys had to appeal.

Their problem is our pleasure, because this resulted in some brilliant advocacy by Mr. Peter E. Morgan for the applicant, who took issue with the examiner’s reliance on cases concerning “jack-off” and “cocksucker,” which have no non-vulgar meanings while noting that “left nut” has many non-vulgar meanings which the examiner chose to ignore.

Mr. Morgan also respectfully offered that the word “nut,” even when used to refer to a testicle, has not been considered vulgar for many years, if ever. Mr. Morgan submitted a variety of evidence to support this:

  • “Nut” is not among the famous seven dirty words of George Carlin.
  • There are lots of registrations with “nut” already, including YANK DEEZ NUTS, CHOKE ON THESE NUTS, and MY HUSBAND’S NUTS.

Mr. Morgan also turned the examiner’s reliance on Urban Dictionary on its head: To “the extent . . . Urban Dictionary has any value at all, it is to show that contemporary attitudes are very permissive of crude humor.”

I’ve written about terrible trademarks and awful lawyering, but right now wouldn’t you give your left nut to be a trademark lawyer?

3 thoughts on “Left Nuts are Not Scandalous

  1. Pingback: The Redskins and the Slants | Bee Blog

  2. So are my chances of getting a registration dependent on my not getting an overly prudish or cautious examiner? Given that there are plenty of opportunities along the way for a registration to die, shouldn’t the personal preferences of an examiner be mitigated (I realize it can’t be eliminated)? How much discretion is an examiner allowed?

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    • As you already said, it’s not possible to eliminate the effect of the personal differences among examiners, but those effects are mitigated. Examiners are supposed to act according to earlier rulings and, like in this case, the final decision of an examiner can be challenged by appeal.

      Liked by 1 person

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