Last week while traveling, I snapped the photo below because I was stricken by how brazen and, in my opinion, inappropriate it is. Of course, free speech protects a business’ rights to market and brand their products how they wish. However, the USPTO under Trademark Act Section 2(a) may decline registration and protection for a brand if it is scandalous, immoral, or disparaging, among other reasons (but these refusals are under constitutional attack in the courts in several cases).

Regardless of the potential trademark registrability issues, why would a brand want to associate itself with a weapon used for killing?

Days later the news was filled with the horrors in Orlando. Regardless of one’s position on the 2nd Amendment, I find it odd that a brand would want to immediately turn off a sizable percentage of potential customers.

TOMMY VODKA IMG_0527

The USPTO registered this shape trademark configuration, see here? I’m not sure the government should be determining what is scandalous or immoral as it is virtual impossible to remove subjectivity from the assessment and standards change over time and differ from one person to another. But I have no problem if the public is outraged and refuses to support this business and calls it out for promoting a culture of guns and violence.


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