SAN FRANCISCO - Kink.com owner Peter Acworth is fighting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark his website fuckingmachines.com. Acworth's company Cybernet [now Kink.com] originally applied for the trademark two years ago, but was denied on the basis of a statute dating back to 1905.
"Registration is refused because the proposed mark consists of or comprises immoral or scandalous matter," attorney Michael Engel wrote in his review of the case. "The term 'fucking' is an offensive and vulgar reference to the act of sex.[...] A mark that is deemed scandalous ... is not registrable."
Acworth's attorney Marc Randazza filed an appeal June 5, which will now lead to a hearing before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
"The trademark office has gone off the deep end with 2(a) rejections," Randazza told the Orlando Weekly, in reference to Section 2(a), 15 USC §1052(a), which forbids trademarks with "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter."
Randazza said the rejection is unconstitutional and is fighting the federal government for the right to trademark any word a person pleases.
In addition to www.fuckingmachines.com, Kink.com operates 10 different fetish websites and employs 70 people in its Mission District headquarters.
Randazza and Cybernet appealed the trademark office's ruling in August, asking the government to reconsider.
"The Applicant respectfully challenges this characterization of the word 'fucking' and its allegedly 'offensive and vulgar' root: 'fuck,'" Randazza wrote. "[T]his much maligned four-letter word has no intrinsic meaning. Fuck [can] play a role as a figurative term, for example, 'to fuck' can also mean 'to deceive.' It is a word of force that can assist us in our expressions of joy when used as an infix, as in 'abso-fucking-lutely'. 'Fuck' helps us express rage when we scream 'fuck you' at a football referee, or at a motorist who has just cut us off in traffic. 'Fuck' can help us express pain, as it is quite frequently the first thing out of most men's mouths when they strike their thumb (accidentally) with a hammer. 'Fuck' is a vehicle for our disappointment, when we see that our report card is not as good as we had hoped, or when our significant other is late for dinner, or leaves us altogether. 'Fuck' is an old friend, who can always make us laugh."
Randazza's F-word soliloquy failed to move the court - but he remains steadfast in his argument.
"If I didn't use 'fuck' liberally," Randazza told the Orlando Weekly, "I'd be conceding the fucking argument."