“You can’t ficken call it that,” say EU judges
When is a rude word a rude word?
When the EU court says it is.
EU judges had their minds in the gutter again last week, as they told a German company it can’t trademark a schnapps “Ficken Liquor,” because it contains a rude word.
The drink can bear the name, but can’t have an EU trademark.
For the teutonically challenged, “ficken” means exactly what you instinctively think it means.
As the EU judgment late last week helpfully notes:
“the prime meaning of the German word “ficken” is, according to several German dictionaries …, in a vulgar register, “to practice coitus” or “to have sexual relations with someone.””
In fact the legal text is littered with 32 mentions of this word so rude that it can’t feature in a trademark.
The judges agreed with the EU’s trademark office, which had refused to award the brand EU recognition.
The trademark officials had taken particular issue with the association between getting laid and drinking the blood-red “josta berry” flavoured nail-varnish remover.
The link “created the impression that the drink could help lead to sex,” they blustered.
The company marketing Ficken Liquor tried to argue that the word wasn’t THAT bad, and even tried to play it down, saying that “ficken” in German “didn’t have the same connotation or use as the word “fuck” in English.”
This is all helpfully laid out, and quashed in full colourful language, by the judgment last week, in both French and German.
The trademark office “had merely indicated in a cursory manner that the vulgar and coarse character of the word “ficken” was confirmed by comparison with its translation into English.”
The eurocrat IP lawyers said the German word “is only ever used in a very informal and vulgar context.” By contrast the English equivalent is “an everyday swearword.”
Is it fuck. Apparently daily life at the fucking Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal fucking Market is like an episode of the fucking Sopranos or The Thick of It.
Sign me up.
Meantime, of course, this whole confusion and costly litigation could have been avoided if the EU had implemented its Single European Swearword.
Before that happens though, I’m off to OHIM to put in a request to trademark my own brand of “Kuñardocz Gin” …