According to a BBC report from 2001, the FCUK logo was created by legendary adman Trevor Beattie, and is widely credited with turning the fashion retailerâs fortunes around. The British Advertising Standards Authority received 27 complaints about the logo on its launch. And a British judge branded the campaign âtasteless and obnoxiousâ during a court case involving the company.
Just this week I spotted a story in Springwise for a new brand of gadget friendly jeans that go by the name wtfjeans. My feeling is this is somewhat less offensive, as only âhip young thingsâ would know what the three letters stand for in this context. Having said that, a quick Google search reveals over 35 million hits for the term.
However, one of my Intellectual Property expert colleagues Philip Eagle has discovered that in January the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) approved a German trade mark, F***ing Hell.
Apparently swearing is ok as long as the offensive word is used in the abstract and not used to insult an identifiable person or group of people.
R 0538/2008-4 â F***ing Hell [Fig. mark] â The applicant sought to register a figurative trade mark for âclothing, footwear, headgearâ in Class 25, âbeers and aerated waters and other non-alcoholic drinksâ in Class 32 and âalcoholic beverages (except beers)â in Class 33.
Philip has just informed me that the UKIPO may have a different view on the matter as in June 2005 they refused an application for FOOK.
Hearing Officer found that the trade mark was excluded from acceptance
by reason of section 3(3)(a) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 on the basis
that it consisted exclusively of the word FOOK which is phonetically
very similar or, in some regional dialects, identical to the offensive
word F***. As such it was contrary to accepted principles of morality.