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'Vulgar' undies Comfyballs denied a U.S. trademark

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said Comfyballs was denied a trademark because "the word 'balls' has an offensive meaning."
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Dec. 10, 2014 at 12:54 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- The Norwegian manufacturers of Comfyballs underwear said the U.S. patent office told them the brand name is too "vulgar" to trademark.

Company founder Anders Selvig said officials filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this year with an aim toward bringing the products to the North American market, but the office's reply said the name was too "vulgar" to trademark.

"The mark does not create a double entendre or other idiomatic expression... When used in this way, the word 'balls' has an offensive meaning," the office said in its reply to Comfyballs.

The ruling came after lobbying against the brand by One Million Moms, a wing of the American Family Association aimed at fighting "indecency."

Ben & Jerry's Saturday Night Live-inspired ice cream flavor "Schweddy Balls" was similarly denied a trademark by the patent office after protests from the group.

Selvig called on the patent office to review its guidelines.

"The trademarks 'Nice Balls' and 'I love my balls' have recently both been approved by the USPTO," Selvig told The Telegraph. "Luckily, Europeans have a softer view on what is deemed to be vulgar and the [European Union] allowed Comfyballs to trademark without hassle earlier this year."

Comfyballs is named for its "PackageFront technology," which the company says creates "ultimate comfort by reducing heat transfer and restricting movement."

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