WTF? As if this saga couldn't get any more mired down in repressiveness, The Trademark Blog reports that a California man has now filed an opposition to the San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent application to register the mark DYKES ON BIKES because it would "foster hatred of men."
TTB author Marty points out:
because, you know, lesbians hate men. Although not so much hate as in a tracking them down and killing them kind of hate, but more of sort of a not having sex with them hate.
Opposer makes a 'disparagement' argument, not a "'scandalous or immoral' material" argument. That the application was approved signals (but is not determinative) of how the Board would come out on whether the term DYKES is scandalous or immoral.
Arguing that the registration of a mark that merely identifies a group (in contrast to a "I HATE [name of group]" mark), disparages some other group, is somewhat novel.
For groups for whom hatred of another group is an essential organizing principle, the 'scandalous or immoral' clause may be more applicable. For example, an application that contained the term KU KLUX KLAN recently received the following rejection:
"Registration is refused because the proposed mark consists of or comprises immoral or scandalous matter. Trademark Act Section 2(a), 15 U.S.C. Section 1052(a); TMEP Section 1203.01. According to the attached evidence from the Internet, the proposed mark includes the wording KU KLUX KLAN and is thus scandalous because a majority of the public finds references to the KU KLUX KLAN offensive in light of their beliefs and historical behavior.
It's silly that we even have to have this fight in the first place, but its also a fascinating example of how context is everything in nomenclature. Even if you equated the exclusivity of the KKK with the idea of Dykes on Bikes focusing exclusively on women, the fact that the KKK advocates torturing and killing people is what makes it offensive. As much as some men want to believe most lesbians attack men, there's little to no evidence of that and certainly no evidence that DOB are organized around that purpose the way the KKK is.
Man, I hope this opposition is a joke. Either way, it should be treated as one.