'Asshole' Trademark Too Vulgar For Registration, TTAB Says

Law360, New York (June 3, 2014, 2:46 PM EDT) -- In a precedential ruling Friday, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board refused to register the phrase "Asshole Repellant" for selling gag gifts, rejecting the argument that the word was no longer scandalous enough to bar registration.

The board affirmed an examiner's decision to disallow the registration under Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, which bans marks involving "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter." Applicant Anthony Michalko had argued that widespread use in entertainment media had transformed "asshole" into at worst an "impolite" word, but the board said otherwise.

"Applicant contends that though "asshole" might once have been scandalous, under modern standards of...

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