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USPTO Rejects Underwear Maker's 'Comfyballs' Trademark

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By William Peacock, Esq. on December 11, 2014 10:25 AM

This is a stupid decision. The Unites States Patent and Trade Office has rejected a Norwegian underwear manufacturer's requested trademark on "Comfyballs," their brand of underwear with "PackageFront technology." Apparently, cutesy references to male genitalia are "vulgar."

Balls? Balls, balls, balls. Is anyone offended yet? Balls.

One Million Moms Needs a New Hobby

According to UPI, the denial came after lobbying by One Million Moms, a group that fights "indecency." One Million Moms also opposed Ben and Jerry's "Schweddy Balls" trademark, which was similarly rejected as too vulgar for a trademark.

"In the context of the applicant's goods ... Comfyballs means only one thing -- that a man's testicles, or 'balls,' will be comfortable in the applicant's undergarments," the USPTO wrote in its rejection letter. "The mark does not create a double entendre or other idiomatic expression... When used in this way, the word, 'balls' has an offensive meaning."

USPTO Has No Sense of Humor

OK, that might be fair, though we'd argue that mildly offensive isn't the same thing as vulgar. The relevant statute, for the record, prohibits trademarks on "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter...," and perhaps "balls" might just qualify as scandalous (if you take a puritanical view of human anatomy).

Anders Selvig, founder of Comfyballs, pointed out the oddity of the ruling, noting that "Nice Balls" and "I Love My Balls" were both approved by the USPTO, reports the New York Post. And the EU granted a trademark for "Comfyballs" earlier this year.

If you're wondering what is so comfy about Comfyballs, the "PackageFront" technology apparently "reduc[es] heat transfer and restrict[s] movement."

And though many news outlets are misreporting Comfyballs' predicament by stating that the underwear is banned from sale, as lawyers, we all know that they have merely been denied the comfort and protection of a trademark -- in other words, they'll have no recourse if someone produces faux-Comfyballs undies.

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