This is from the Strong Language blog, which bills itself as "A sweary blog about swearing" (in the excerpt below, I've deleted the controversial words from this family friendly blog!):
Under the federal trademark statute, trademarks that are found to be “scandalous” can’t be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. While this doesn’t stop trademark owners from using these marks, they can’t rely on various legal advantages that come with federal registration.
The agency asks whether “a substantial composite of the general public” would find the mark as used to be shocking, offensive or vulgar. While more mild profanity – [****, ****, ****, ****] – is generally allowed, terms like [****, ****, and *****] are unregistrable. The USPTO has denied registration, for example, to various unseemly marks for apparel like [****, ****, ****, ****, and ****]. It has also rejected registration for a variety of marks for porn, such as [****, ****, *****, *****, and ****]. ...
What I'm wondering is this: Where in the TRIPS Agreement does it say you can deny registration to trademarks with "scandalous" words? Is it Article 15.2, which says, "Paragraph 1 shall not be understood to prevent a Member from denying registration of a trademark on other grounds, provided that they do not derogate from the provisions of the Paris Convention (1967)"? Somewhere else?
And what implications, if any, does all of this have for the plain packaging litigation?