An Australian snack food company has been given the go ahead to
sell their prepared nuts product under its unconventional brand
name "Nuckin Futs", following a legal trade mark battle
spanning 12 months.
The initial trade mark application for "Nuckin Futs"
was first rejected by the Trade Mark Office under the Trade
Marks Act 1995, on the grounds that the mark was
"scandalous and offensive "in light of it clearly being a
"Spoonerism" of a colloquial oath or obscenity. A
spoonerism is an error in speech or deliberate play on words in
which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are
Solicitors for the company argued against the objection claiming
that the name was not of an offensive nature because over the
passage of time, certain terms which may have caused offence in the
past, are now more widely accepted particularly within the
Australian market. In particular, it was submitted that the
"f-word" was now considered to be accepted as part of
everyday colourful and colloquial Australian discourse, which is
inundated with words of a far more 'scandalous' nature.
In support of the application, the solicitors also implied that
one would have had to have "lived an isolated existence to not
come into regular contact" with these or similar words or
Referring to the commonly accepted meaning of
"scandalous" as causing a significant degree of
"disgrace, shock or outrage", the solicitors conceded
that while there may be some level of objection to the use of
"Nuckin Futs", it is not of a significant nature to
support the rejection of the trade mark.
Last month, the Trade Marks Office agreed to allow the trade
mark to proceed to acceptance, with a condition of registration
that the trade mark will not be marketed to children.
With registration of this controversial trade mark due in July
2012, this decision will serve as a useful reference for trade mark
owners who are interested in registering playful and risqué
trade marks in connection with their goods and services.
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