Monday, July 18, 2005

A trademark comment! On a linguistics blog!

Insults! Insults and slurs and slang and labels! And reclaimed labels!

I read with glee Geoff Nunberg's comments on the disastrous decision by the US PTO (patent and trademark office) to reject the federal trademark registration application by the well-known and well-established group DYKES ON BIKES, a San Francisco-based group of motorcycle afficionados who have participated in public events in that city (and have spawned imitators and fans and clubs across the country) for years. See "Adverbial License" over at Two Language Log Plaza (I joke; I don't know the proper mailing address for the purely hypothetical Language Log Plaza).

Geoff takes some richly deserved shots at the PTO, at clueless attorneys or judges who stray into the field of lexicography and semantics without proper circumspection (he singles out Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly for her decision in the suit involving the Washington Redskins; since I haven't read the case, I can express no opinion on the merits of her opinion).

The post is most worth reading because Geoff drops in some thoughtful questions for the reader, such as "What if the Family Research Council" got ownership of the Dykes on Bikes trade name, and tried to use it on t-shirts with profits going to their (anti-gay, anti-family, anti-research) agenda? Interesting indeed.

For more "cursing," see this post here.


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