–Dan Kelly, Attorney
One of the hottest pieces of blogfodder these days is the recent ad for Huggies Jeans diapers. Others have commented on the taste aspects of this ad. My question? I wanted to know whether Kimberly-Clark applied to register trademark rights in the tag line, “The coolest you’ll look pooping your pants.” As far as I can tell, the answer is no. The next question is could they register it? Probably.
A trademark that is immoral or scandalous is statutorily prohibited from registration. (15 U.S.C. 1052(a) for those dying to know.) Based upon a brief, informal survey of the trademark database, trademarks using “poop” and variations of the “poop” formative are rarely if ever refused as immoral or scandalous. On the other hand, poop’s coarser cousin, the “S-dash-dash-dash” word, to paraphrase A Christmas Story, is universally refused registration in all forms as immoral and scandalous.
From the sounds of the commentary about the Huggies ad, its tastefulness is in the eye of the beholder. Fortunately, the Trademark Office seems to maintain more objective standards to keep the, er, “crap” off the register.