Friday, December 09, 2005

"Dykes on Bikes" Now Federally Protected

(Link) US Patent and Trademark Office backs down from last year's refusal to trademark the group's name, claiming it was "disparaging to lesbians" (and freeing it up for use by money-making enterprises). "Dykes on Bikes" is now trademarked and the property of the original non-profit group itself.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
By Christopher Curtis GAY.COM/ Network

The US Patent and Trademark Office has reversed its initial refusal to trademark the phrase "Dykes on Bikes," paving the way for the name to be federally protected.

"We are thrilled 'Dykes on Bikes' will be protected under trademark and recognised as a celebration of our identity," said Vick Germany, president of the women's motorcycle group, in a written statement on Thursday.

The push to trademark "Dykes on Bikes" started in July 2003 when members of the San Francisco nonprofit group discovered that a Wisconsin woman was considering starting a leather clothing line with "Dykes on Bikes" as its label.

The group filed for trademark protection immediately.

The trademark office rejected the group's application in February 2004 and again in October 2004, claiming the name "Dykes on Bikes" was disparaging to lesbians.

Legal groups such as the Brooke Oliver Law Group and the National Center for Lesbian Rights fought back in April 2005 with the help of scholars, linguists, psychologists and activists to show how the word "dyke" has evolved to become a positive term.

But the trademark office denied the request again the following month.

The office reversed itself Monday after the intellectual property law firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew appealed to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

"Given trademarks like 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,' any other decision simply was unacceptable," said Gregory Gilchrist, a lawyer with that firm.

"Dykes on Bikes is a vital community organisation, and we are relieved that the final ruling will permit them to protect their name and reputation," said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

"There will be a waiting period of 30 days where people can voice their complaints, but otherwise we're good to go," said Calla Devlin, a spokeswoman for the rights group.

Pablo Manga, associate attorney for the Brooke Oliver Law Group, believes other organisations will benefit from the decision. "Passing the registration sets a strong precedent for several other 'dyke' applications that have been refused on the same grounds."