This past week, I was perusing the internet for articles of interest and came across one that made me chuckle–probably because of my profane and childish sense of humor. Apparently, some clever entrepeneur had been taking advantage of the dated and immature Sofa King joke in connection with a sofa and furniture store. Recently (okay, almost 6 months ago), the UK’s Advertising Standard Authority determined that the advertisements were offensive and banned them from further use.
As some of you probably know, United States trademark law prevents the registration of marks that consist of “immoral, deceptive or scandalous matter.” However, the point at which this line is crossed is a classic legal “grey area.” (See my earlier post here on scandalous marks.) The USPTO lists a number of “Sofa King” registrations–some dead, some alive. Most of the dead registrations appear to have been abandoned rather than rejected by the USPTO. Accordingly, it appears that the Sofa King mark is not quite as serious of a problem here as it is in the UK.
So what do you think? Are Sofa King marks scandalous and immoral, or simply a clever (albeit, immature) and humorous double entendre?