JAMIE White (pictured) says he doesn’t use the f-word often, if at all, but nevertheless spent almost a year on a successful fight to allow a nut company to trademark a spoonerism featuring the word.
The Gold Coast solicitor and director of Pod Legal successfully argued that his client should be able to register the brand Nuckin Futs.
White applied on behalf of the Gold Coast company which wanted to use the name to market beer nuts to be sold at pubs and clubs, but was first rejected by IP Australia back in February 2011 and again in June. It was rejected on the grounds it was a scandalous and offensive spoonerism.
White disagreed and wrote letters to the examiner on behalf of the company to plead the case, saying the word f**k was a normal part of Australian discourse.
The office took into account the owners of Nuckin Futs had no intention to sell the products outside of pubs and finally allowed the trademark to be added to the register on the condition it was not marketed to children.
White says the judgement sets a precedent and shows Australians are becoming less offended by swear words.
“I am not a fan of the word and I don’t use it, but I am certainly not offended by it,” he says.
“It shows the use of that type of word is becoming more accepted in Australia than it was in the past and there are far more offensive terms out there than this one.
“We expect that this decision and the anticipated registration of the Nuckin Futs trade mark will be useful in providing some guidance in relation to the registrability of scandalous trademarks.”
White’s success caused a storm of interest from both national and international media, securing the type of advertising for Nuckin Futs that can’t be bought.
“The response has been huge, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing; I never expected this type of response and it is all because of the f-word, which is unbelievable,” says White.
The brand is a household name before it has hit the shelves, but Griffith University Marketing expert Dr Marie-Louise Fry wonders whether it can stand the test of time.
“Obviously, they are very serious about it, because they have spent a year fighting to get the brand registered,” she says.
“I have my doubts about the longevity, because good brands are usually easy to say. Sure, this has a novelty value, but you have to spend too long getting your tongue around the words and making sure you don’t swear.
“You can have fun saying the name, but how long will that last? Will that wear off over time? There will be brand recognition there, but will people actually be able to say the name? I think it is risky.”