Nuckin Futs, a nutty snack company from Australia, has won the right to use the name, despite an official ruling that it was offensive.
A solicitor representing the Gold Coast company argued that the name Nuckin Futs was not offensive because the words it suggested were commonplace in everyday Australian language.
The Trade Marks Examiner had ruled a year ago that Nuckin Futs had to be rejected because it was scandalous and offensive due to its close resemblance to the common phrase f**king nuts.
The examiner, who has not been named, ruled that Nuckin Futs was an “obvious spoonerism” and therefore was ineligible for registration under section 42 of the Trade Marks Act.
The Act states that anything that is regarded as shameful, offensive or shocking to ordinary people had to be rejected.
Solicitor Jamie White did not agree with the finding and began a 12-month campaign on behalf of the company to get the name registered.
The suggested words were part of the everyday language of Australians, he considered, and drew up a five-page legal document cataloguing the history of controversial product names.
He argued that the words “f**k” and “f**king” were “now part of the universal discourse of the ordinary Australian”.
While there might be a sentimental objection or mere distaste to Nuckin Futs, he said, this was not sufficient ground for rejection of the Trade Mark.
He added that “a substantial number of people would not find the words shocking”.
“Over 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,” Jamie White told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
It has taken almost a year but after rejecting the initial application, the Trade Marks Examiner has now agreed to accept the Nuckin Futs trademark – as long as the company does not aim its marketing at children.
Jamie White said that would not happen.
He explained that the snack, which is made up mostly of nuts, would not be marketed to children as it was intended to be sold only in pubs, nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
Australians writing to a comment page said they found it strange that Nuckin Futs had to fight for registration, while French Connection UK – which carries the brand name FCUK – was widely accepted in the community.
“Really, people need to lighten up and stop being so politically correct all the time,” said one man.
Another, Rob Lapaer, used his own Spoonerism by describing the affair as being “mucking afazing”.
But Andrew Baker of Sydney said: “It’s people like this that are responsible for the moral decay in society these days. Not only should the company name not be registered but the man should be fined heavily as well.”