Federal Appeals Court Denies Trademark for the Word “!@#$%^&*()”

It is not often that a federal appellate court will write one of George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” over a dozen times in a published legal opinion — often in all capital letters. However, in a US Court of Appeals case that is destined to be the inspiration for legal careers of 12-year-old boys everywhere, the Court yesterday said that a business could not trademark the word “!@#$%^&*.” (See, not even we can get ourselves to write the word!) To read the opinion — and see the dirty word it all its glory — go to In re Marsha Fox, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 25937 (December 19, 2012).

We recognize that this is an intellectual property case involving trademarks and not a government contracts law case on which we would normally blog. However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is the same court that adjudicates our bid protest cases . . . and the 12-year-old boys in us just couldn’t resist. Who said administrative law was dry?

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