Stock and trade hypocrisy
by Elizabeth Wright*
Did you know that the terms "Black Power," "Black Supremacy," and "La Raza" (The Race) are all trademarks that have long been approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office? Even the Black Panther Party's slogan "Burn, Baby, Burn" (which still evokes the threat of rioting and mayhem), had no problem winning official trademark recognition. And then there's "African Pride," "Black Pride," "Chippewa Pride," "Cuban Pride," "Indian Pride," "Jewish Pride," "Red Pride," and lots more -- all aimed at acknowledging a race or ethnicity. And all terms approved by the U.S. government.
As Reported by American Renaissance and Free Republic, when Justin Moritz, a former law enforcement officer, applied to trademark the phrase "White Pride Country Wide," he was rejected in no uncertain terms. Registration of the words was not only denied, but the phrase was ruled "offensive" and "immoral." More succinctly, the trademark office claimed, "... the proposed mark consists of or comprises immoral or scandalous matter."
Incredulous, Moritz's next step was to appeal the decision and give trademark officials a chance to reconsider his request. He first did some homework and accumulated a list of all the trademarks given to terms that acknowledge pride of race or national origin. He came up with over three dozen relevant terms or slogans, many referencing people of color, which objectively could be deemed close relatives to "White Pride Country Wide." All to no avail. Rejection of his registration was upheld, and to add to his vexation, his $1,300 trademark application fee was deemed non-refundable.
Moritz next turned to the ACLU, which, unsurprisingly, refused to petition the trademark office in his behalf. He then contacted the Center for Individual Rights, a public interest law firm. CIR did not take the case, but did place it on the website of the Federalist Society, where lawyers sometimes choose cases to handle pro bono. As of August, Moritz had not been contacted by a willing attorney.
Elizabeth Wright is an African-American writer and editor of the Issues & Views Magazine and blog. Her articles were also published in Issues & Views.