Success for Brunetti

Erik Brunetti has won his battle to protect his clothing line FUCT with a federal trademark. This opens the way for other "scandalous" or "obscene" marks to get onto the federal trademark register.

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday to strike down the part of the statute that prohibits "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter", by a vote of 6-3. Some see this as an opportunity for a flood of distasteful logos to hit the market, with the new ability to preserve their uniqueness in the marketplace. Others say such fears are overblown, and that there will not be a noticeable increase. Since the total time it takes for a trademark application to make it through the process may be a year or longer, we may see a rise in registrations next summer, but since trademarks can already be in use when an application is filed (and otherwise, the applicant must indicate an intent to use), this ruling may not affect what is available for purchase.

Some business owners might be inspired to promote a brand that they otherwise would not have invested the effort into. Brunetti was motivated to pursue this fight by a desire to fight back against counterfeit goods. Soon he will be able to.

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