Exclusions from Trademark Protection

A vast array of words, symbols, designs, and devices can function as trademarks, but there are several exclusions to trademark protection set forth in the U.S. Trademark Act, including the following:

  • Immoral or scandalous matter. The Trademark Act prohibits the registration of immoral or scandalous matter, including profane words. Thus, a mark consisting of a photo of a nude man and woman embracing and kissing in a graphic manner for a social club service newsletter was held to be scandalous and not registrable.

  • Deceptive matter. Marks comprising deceptive matter cannot be registered. For example, LOVEE LAMB was held to be deceptive for seat covers not made of lambskin, and ORGANIK was held to be deceptive ...

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