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The manufacturers of Comfyballs underwear say that they were denied trademark by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office because the name of their brand is too "vulgar."
Comfyballs is a Norwegian underwear company established in 2013, reports The Telegraph. The company's underwear is designed to reduce heat and restrict movement of a man's testicles as he goes about his daily business. In other words: The company's product purports to live up to the company's name.
What prompted the USPTO to deny Comfyballs' application to register the company name as a trademark?
With products for sale in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere internationally, Comfyballs applied to register a U.S trademark to launch the company's line in the U.S. However the USPTO took umbrage with the Comfyballs name, finding that it "does not create a double entendre or other idiomatic expression... [w]hen used in this way, the word 'balls' has an offensive meaning."
Under the U.S. Trademark Act, a trademark may be refused registration if it "[c]onsists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter." In denying the company's application the USPTO wrote "Comfyballs means only one thing - that a man's testicles, or 'balls,' will be comfortable in the applicant's undergarments."
A trademark is word, symbol, device, or name used in the trade of goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish goods from other, similar goods. A trademark allows the holder of the mark to protect the mark from infringement by those producing or selling products with a similar mark.
However, registering a trademark is generally not required in order to establish rights to a trademark. Rather, trademark rights may be established by use of the trademark in the course of legitimate business. Registration does provide benefits, such as notice to others regarding the ownership of the trademark, legal presumption of ownership and the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court.
Company founder Anders Selvig told The Telegraph that the company was able to successfully secure an E.U. Trademark earlier this year and called on the USPTO to review the guidelines for trademark registration.
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