Homophobic “Dykes On Bikes” Trademark Opposer Held To Lack Standing Because He Pees Standing

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Michael J. McDermott, who describes himself as “a Male Citizen of the United States and a fourth generation native son of the City of San Francisco,” filed an opposition to a trademark application filed by the San Francisco Women’s Motorcycle Contingent for the phrase “Dykes on Bikes.” He alleged, in pertinent part:

…[M]y opposition falls in to[sic] two broad categories, reflecting the dual nature of the Harm from pandering to such “Dykes”, whether on motorcycles or not.

1. The Ongoing Criminal and Civil Rights Violations committed by “Dykes on Bikes” and All Dykes who participate in the annual illegal Anti Male hate riot/takeover of public lands culminating in the illegal “San Francisco Dyke March”;

2. The attempt to have the USPTO act as Political Agent of the Misandry Lobby, by granting approval to their uses of the term “Dyke”, so as to provide them with Government Backing for Thought & Speech Policing throughout America….

The Endorsement by the Government of a Politically Correct definition and usage of the term “Dyke”, and a corresponding disfavor for all other accurate if unflattering usage, is a clear political goal of this Trademark application….

The term “Dyke” has long acknowledged the Misandry of those who choose to wear that title, and the deep obsessive hatred of Men and Male Gender traits that go with it. The attempt to use this Trademark to further the goals of Separatist/Neo Exterminationist Misandrists … as well as Sadists and Sado-Masochistic Bondage and Flogging Fanatics such as “Dykes on Bikes” leader Vic Germany, is a shameful abuse of the trademark process.

Happily, he failed in his efforts to leverage homophobia to derail the trademark registration process. Humorously enough, he was found to lack standing to oppose the mark under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act in part due to the fact that he himself is not a lesbian. On September 13th the TTAB ruled:

Opposer has failed to allege that he possesses a trait or characteristic that is inherently implicated by applicant’s applied-for mark — that is, that he is a “lesbian” or “dyke.” Rather, as opposer alleges in the beginning of his notice of opposition, “I am a Male Citizen of the United States and a fourth-generation native son of the City of San Francisco.” Applicant’s mark is therefore only subjectively offensive to opposer. Thus, … the opposer in this case must resort to the second method for demonstrating the reasonableness of his belief of damage. In this regard, opposer has failed to make a sufficient leading.

A review of the notice of opposition shows that opposer has failed to allege any facts that others (i.e. men) share his belief of damage. All we can find in the pleading is that opposer himself is personally offended by the”illegal behavior”and”illegal acts”purportedly committed by participants in applicant’s parade services and that he objects to the USPTO’s supposed endorsement of applicant’s activities in approving applicant’s mark for publication. Opposer has not made any objective allegations regarding the reasonableness of his belief of damage, such as by alleging that he has obtained affidavits or signatures on petitions, or conducted surveys that show … that other men share his belief in damage if applicant’s mark were to register. Opposer has throughout the notice of opposition referenced various excerpts from publications (i.e. articles, books, statements issued by applicant). However, none of the excerpts provides objective evidence that others who are members of opposer’s group (that is, men) would perceive applicant’s mark as disparaging or offensive to men.

In addition, opposer’s allegations regarding applicant’s conduct vis-à-vis men (e.g., allegations that applicant bans men from public streets and parks during the duration of applicant’s parade and that “large numbers of ‘Dykes on Bikes’ [use] THEIR MOTORCYCLES AS OFFENSIVE WEAPONS AGAINST MEN”) do not constitute an objective pleading that other men concur with opposer’s belief in damage. As to the litany of criminal or civil wrongdoings participants in applicant’s parades purportedly have committed, the Board is not the proper venue for bringing such objections — the Board’s jurisdiction is limited to determining whether trademark registrations should issue or whether registrations should be maintained; it does not have authority to determine whether a party has engaged in criminal or civil wrongdoings. …

–Via Llew Gibbons, but don’t blame him for the post title.

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