TUESDAY, 16 MAY 2017
Switzerland: unprotected MINDFUCK

Petra Bock sought to extend the protection of her international mark MINDFUCK, claiming protection among others for clothing and, I kid you not, education and mental coaching, to Switzerland. Unlike Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, which protected the mark, the Swiss IPO was offended and refused protection based on the grounds that the mark was against public morale ("sittenwidrig"). On appeal, the Federal Administrative Court confirmed.

"FUCK" was generally understood to refer to a sexual act. The combination with "MIND" did not detract from this meaning; to the contrary, the literal German translation "HIRNFICK" made it even worse (I am not sure that is the correct translation. "HIRNFICK" would be "BRAINFUCK". I am sure, however, that I never expected to read a decision of the Federal Administrative Court discussing the meaning of "HIRNFICK"). The term MINDFUCK was therefore offensive for at least parts of the general public and excluded from protection as trade mark.

Decision B-883/2016 of 23 March 2017.

Posted by: Mark Schweizer @ 13.18
Tags: absolute grounds for refusal, public morale,
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