Erik Brunetti, Los Angeles artist and streetwear designer of the clothing brand FUCT, stands for a portrait in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 7, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

The Supreme Court is weighing whether the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office acted unconstitutionally when it denied granting a trademark to a clothing line called “FUCT.”

The line was created by designer Eric Brunetti in 1990, and his T-shirts, hoodies, and other items prominently display the “FUCT” logo. Brunetti has been trying to get his brand trademarked since its launch in 1990, but for the past 29 years the patent and trademark office has consistently denied his application. The agency contends that “FUCT” violates federal law that prohibits words that are “shocking” or “offensive” on trademarked material.

An earlier Supreme Court ruling that granted trademark protection to an Asian-American band called “The Slants” may help Brunetti’s case.  Founding member and singer Simon Tam had named the band “The Slants” in an attempt to neutralize the derogatory meaning of the term used for people of Asian attempt. The patent office turned down the band’s application, and in 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the denial was tantamount to viewpoint discrimination.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on the Brunetti case by this summer.


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