Reuters reports that U.K. regulators have once again slapped the wrist of the French Connection clothing company for their jejune FCUK ad campaign (“French Connection UK,” get it?). Last February Brand Channel reported on this business, which has managed to attract the unwelcome (or perhaps not?) attention of the American Family Association. (The AFA is no more a “self-appointed” guardian of public morality than you or I. They have a right to be offended and to act on it within the parameters of the free speech and the free market.)
The fact is, it’s almost impossible to say what legal basis there would be in the U.S. to prevent the widescpread promulgation of this clever, adolescent joke on outdoor advertising throughout your neighborhood, on your kids’ classmates’ backpacks and jeans pockets and, of course, throughout the media. Unlike the U.K., the last few decades of First Amendment jurisprudence have eviscerated public obscenity law in the U.S. In contrast, it appears that the U.K. possesses a trademark office which does not suffer from a shortage of tools either. (No, not at all.)
The AFA’s efforts notwithstanding, there are, according to TESS, nine active FCUK trademarks or trademark applications in the U.S, including a registration issued exactly one month ago today for FCUK AT HOME.