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Unpublished Paper
NSFW: An Empirical Study of Scandalous Trademarks
ExpressO (2015)
  • Megan M Carpenter
This project is an empirical analysis of trademarks that have received rejections based on the judgment that they are “scandalous." It is the first of its kind. The Lanham Act bars registration for trademarks that are “scandalous” and “immoral.” While much has been written on the morality provisions in the Lanham Act generally, this piece is the first scholarly project that engages an empirical analysis of 2(a) rejections based on scandalousness; it contains a look behind the scenes at how the morality provisions are applied throughout the trademark registration process. We study which marks are being rejected, what evidence is being used to reject them, and who the applicants are. Our data pays particularly close attention to the evidence used to determine whether a mark is scandalous. We also consider whether this bar is effective at removing these marks from the consumer marketplace.
  • intellectual property,
  • trademarks,
  • scandalous,
  • immoral,
  • morality,
  • lanham act,
  • empirical
Publication Date
March 10, 2015
Citation Information
Megan M Carpenter. "NSFW: An Empirical Study of Scandalous Trademarks" ExpressO (2015)
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