What is allowed in Germany does not necessarily have to be valid in Switzerland: The brand “MINDFUCK” is classified as inadmissible by the Swiss Federal Administrative Court (BVGer). The Swiss see the term “fuck” still as too vulgar and feel themselves harmed in their “moral feeling”. But what are the arguments in this “sit discussion”?
Trademark registered: Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein are less prudish
The Dr. Bock Coaching Academy, headed by Dr. Petra Bock, had applied to register the name “MINDFUCK” in Switzerland with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property. After the application was rejected, she moved to the BVGer. In Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, Petra Bock has already been successful with the branding of her coaching method, to which she has already published four books.
But the Swiss judges expressed the concept, which is often used by cinema fans to discuss the story of film classics such as “Fight Club” or “A Clockwork Orange”, more conservative and original in its significance. Above all, the single term “fuck” is still to be regarded in its primary or original meaning as an obscene term for sexual intercourse and thus violates the good custom.
According to the BVGer, the brand “Mindfuck” can be divided into “mind” and “fuck” without thought, which in their connection does not give the impression of designating goods or services meaningfully.
“MINDFUCK” Trademark owner : “fuck” is accepted in the normal language usage
For Dr. Bock the conservative opinion of the BVGer is not comprehensible. “Fuck” had lost its original primary meaning as an English term for the sexual intercourse now and is today used in the colloquial language mainly to express his displeasure loudly or to strengthen what has been said. In any case, the concept of “MINDFUCK” would move away from the obscenity of the individual concept and would not be descriptive or suggestive of the present service.
Judgement: Word Mark “MINDFUCK” violates good manners
With the help of the word definitions of common (German) dictionaries and ecyclopedics like www.dict.cc, www.duden.de or www.wikipedia.com (see left), where “fuck” is still listed as a vulgar abuse, the BVGer came to the conclusion that “fuck” and thus also “MINDFUCK” is only used in comparatively lower circles close to the milieu.
Thus the brand name “MINDFUCK” could violate the “moral feeling of at least conservative circles” and violate good morals.
That brand names are rejected because they sound vulgar or sexually offensive, is rather rare. In similar cases, for example, the brands “Ficke“,”FickShui” were judged as eligible by the German Patent Court. Was it also possible to obtain the approval in Switzerland, which is actually regarded as liberal and socially modern? According to the rather conservative judgment against the brand “MINDFUCK” baerly conceivable.
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Text: Judgment of the Swiss Federal Administrative Court, AZ: B-883/2016