Sarah O’Carroll, Business Editor
January 18, 2012
A SNACK called Nuckin Futs will go on sale after a lawyer’s successful argument that the word “f…” is a normal part of Australian speech and so cannot be deemed offensive under trade mark rules.
The trademark application for “Nuckin Futs” was at first rejected by the register as being scandalous and offensive due to its similarity to the phrase “f..king nuts”.
The Trade Marks Examiner ruled that “Nuckin Futs” was an “obvious spoonerism” and deemed it ineligible for registration under section 42 of the Trade Marks Act.
Under the law such terms must be rejected if likely to be regarded as shameful, offensive or shocking to the ordinary person.
But solicitor Jamie White, Director of law firm Pod Legal, who submitted the application on behalf of his Gold Coast client, argued that “Nuckin Futs” was not offensive because it was commonplace in everyday Australian language.
In a five-page legal document, seen by news.com.au, which catalogues the history of controversial product names, Mr White argued the words “f..k” or “f..king” were “now part of the universal discourse of the ordinary Australian”.
“We submit that whilst there may be a mere sentimental objection or mere distaste to NUCKIN FUTS, this is not a sufficient ground for rejection of the Trade Mark, particularly since a substantial number of people would not find the words shocking,” the submission to the Examiner says.
Mr White told news.com.au: â€œOver the passage of time, certain words which may have caused major offence in earlier times would now be acceptable as trade marks in certain markets, namely, the Australian market.â€
Almost a year after the initial application was rejected, the trademark examiner has agreed to accept the “Nuckin Futs” trademark – on the condition that the owner would not market it to kids.
Mr White assured the Examiner that the product, mostly comprising of edible nuts, would not be marketed to children as his client only intended to sell it in pubs, nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
The trade mark is due for registration in April 2012.