In 2003 the lesbian biker group Dykes on Bikes applied for a trademark of their name. They were turned down by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2004 because the term was vulgar and disparaging. They appealed, and in 2005 were turned down again.
Enter the City of San Francisco, which urged the USPTO to reconsider. Let's see if I understand the priorities of San Franciscans:
1. Don't allow the USS Hornet, a floating freakin' museum, to dock in the city because it's an instrument of war and the flower-power citizens of Baghdad-By-The-Bay don't support Bush's war against the peace-loving peoples blah blah blah.
2. Don't allow military recruiters to walk on the campuses of the city's schools, lest the impressionable young minds of students be polluted with the right-wing jingoistic hysteria of the blah blah blah.
3. Convince the US government that 'dyke' isn't a derogatory term.
Got it. I understand now. Good that they have their priorities in order.
So what happened yesterday? The USPTO reversed itself and, after a 30-day waiting period, is expected to approve the trademark for Dykes on Bikes.
It's official. According to the US government, the word 'dyke' isn't derogatory. Let the fun begin.
Update, 9/25/06: But wait, there's more! I received an email today pointing me to this update on the case. As I type this, #16 is the final event in the "prosecution history" and the opposition was dismissed. If I hear more on this topic, I'll update you here!