Vox Populi Registry has lost its ballsy bid to have its .sucks brand trademarked in the US.
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday denied Vox’s latest appeal in its fight with the Patent and Trademark Office, which had rejected two .sucks trademark applications in 2018.
Vox had tried to register the string .sucks itself and also its stylized logo, in which “.SUCKS” appears pixelated. Both were rejected, but the registry appealed on the logo application.
It’s one of a great many trademark attempts by actual and wannabe gTLD registries to be rejected by the USPTO, which usually finds that the marks do not act as “source identifiers”.
The court instead found that people and companies, including registrars, “use .SUCKS to refer to a product being sold to the public rather than as an identifier for Vox’s services”.
In this case, Vox tried to show that it had crossed the line into service mark partly on the basis that its two leading registrars filed declarations swearing it is a distinctive service mark.
Showing that Vox’s chutzpah knows no depths, one of those registrars was its own sister company, Rebel, which is also owned by Momentous. The other was Uniregistrar, years prior to its acquisition by GoDaddy.
But the USPTO wasn’t buying it, and the Federal court agreed with its analysis.
The court also agreed that the stylized .sucks logo was not distinctive enough — too “ordinary” — to allow it to be trademarked.
The case has a layer of irony as .sucks’s biggest customer is a serial cybersquatter that some UDRP panels have speculated is connected to the registry itself.
Read the decision (pdf) here.
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