Am I missing something here?

Did you know that the terms “Black Power,” “Black Supremacy,” and “La Raza” (The Race) are all trademarks that have long been approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office? Even the Black Panther Party’s slogan “Burn, Baby, Burn” (which still evokes the threat of rioting and mayhem), had no problem winning official trademark recognition. And then there’s “African Pride,” “Black Pride,” “Chippewa Pride,” “Cuban Pride,” “Indian Pride,” “Jewish Pride,” “Red Pride,” and lots more — all aimed at acknowledging a race or ethnicity. And all terms approved by the U.S. government.

As Reported by American Renaissance and Free Republic, when Justin Moritz, a former law enforcement officer, applied to trademark the phrase “White Pride Country Wide,” he was rejected in no uncertain terms. Registration of the words was not only denied, but the phrase was ruled “offensive” and “immoral.” More succinctly, the trademark office claimed, “… the proposed mark consists of or comprises immoral or scandalous matter.”

I am the last guy — I mean, if not the last, very low on the list — to want to have much, or hardly anything, to do with someone who espouses “White Pride.” But if this article is correct, every color of pride is amenable to trademark registration except the lack of color itself.

I have argued that the government is in a huge pickle trying to choose appropriate moral contours for the application of the “immoral or scandalous” ground for the rejection of a trademark registration. This is just another example of it. But this rejection seems quite heavy-handed.  [UPDATE:  See here for a similar, and entirely different, angle on this.]

The good news for the protagonist here is that, actually, despite his research and his claims of being singled out, he is not alone. He just may not particularly enjoy the company he’s in.

Originally posted 2010-04-12 18:58:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Ron Coleman

LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION blog author Ron Coleman is a member of Dhillon Law Group in their New York City and Montclair, New Jersey offices. He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and Princeton University.

3 thoughts on “Whitewashed”
  1. […] With a nod to Likelihood of Confusion, this story about the refusal of a trademark application for WHITE PRIDE COUNTRY WIDE.  In 2004 Justin Moritz filed a trademark application for the mark WHITE PRIDE COUNTRY WIDE for goods in 4 classes.  After an initial refusal based solely on the identification of goods, the Examining Attorney issued an Office Action refusing registration based on Sec. 2(a) claiming that the WHITE PRIDE portion of the mark because it comprises immoral or scandalous matter. […]

  2. Ron, you’re not missing anything here. And, if you want to share the seat marked “last guy on the list to want to have anything to do with someone who espouses ‘White Pride'”, then I would be proud to sit right next to you.

    Nevertheless, the USPTO is dead wrong (and so was the ACLU). The USPTO either underwent a change in leadership in late 2004, or they hired a new crop of examining attorneys who were so enamored with imposing a narrow-minded and censorial view that 2(a) rejections went off the deep end. This rejection is a key example of such thinking. (I might have rejected it too, but on a number of different grounds).

    Is “White Pride Country Wide” offensive? No. Not even to me. The thoughts behind it are offensive. They are disgusting. But the same government agency that said “Redskins” isn’t offensive (or it was too late, too bad, so sad) to Native Americans says that “White Pride” is intolerable?

    I do agree that “Black Pride” and “White Pride” do mean two different things. “Black Pride” means “stand up for yourself” and “White Pride” means “stand on the necks of others.” Nevertheless, this is something upon which our government must remain neutral. Unfortunately, whether it comes to hysterical erophobia or political correctness, the forces of censorship are strongly entrenched inside the beltway — and especially at the USPTO.

    To add insult to injury, the ACLU turned down his case. I am, at this moment, a bit ashamed to be a member of the ACLU. If you believe in a principle, you must separate yourself from the torch-bearer of that principle. David Goldberger, the attorney who represented the Skokie nazis, is one of my greatest heroes. He loved his country and its principles more than he hated the nazis. If we were all so brave and bold as he, there would be no nazis (nor neo-cons).

    “It is better to allow those who preach racial hatred to expend their venom in rhetoric rather than to be panicked into embarking on the dangerous course of permitting the government to decide what its citizens may say and hear …. The ability of American society to tolerate the advocacy of even hateful doctrines … is perhaps the best protection we have against the establishment of any Nazi-type regime in this country.” – Judge Bernard Decker.

  3. ”  The most simplistically, conveniently “absolutized” form of an “answer” goes something to the effect that the world breaks down, fundamentally, into those who “don’t know the meaning of the term ‘lose,'” and those who do nothing but make endless “self-pitying
    excuses,” just as what detrimentally, mystifyingly clouds the issue even more, is the vast extent, nevertheless, to which so many losers in the latter category really do exist as well. An incandescent bulb at 60 watts in our baseline since it’s such a common bulb. The Chinese have suggested that the US needs to look at revamping its own economic model and should not blame Chinese policy for its high unemployment rate.

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