Nut Sack


Dan’s Mom will be very proud. Or mortified. He won a big trademark victory today, to make the world safe for nut sacks everywhere.

The US trademark office preliminarily determined that NUT SACK was “immoral” and “scandalous,” as a brand name for beer. Dan went to the mat to protect Engine 15 Brewing Co. and their NUT SACK. The opinion is here (and, ironically, it is much more NSFW than the label itself). In its nether regions it says:

Given the mental images the term “Nut Sack” will likely raise, the weight of the dictionary entries suggests that using this indelicate term may well raise eyebrows at a formal dinner party. On the other hand, in seeking to apply the extremely broad “vulgarity” standard to a slang term, we think it wise to bear foremost in our minds the governing language of the statute (“immoral,” “scandalous”) … . We observe that many slang terms come into the lexicon because the formally correct, clinical word for the thing itself is deemed uncomfortably potent. This seems to be particularly true with respect to parts of the human body, in which case speakers adopt the slang terms precisely because they seem less intense, less indelicate, than the formally correct or technical terminology. Cases of alleged scandalous matter under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act are rarely simple binary decisions, but involve various shades of grey. With this background, we find that some terms, such as “Nut Sack” appearing within “Nut Sack Double Brown Ale” may seem somewhat taboo in polite company, but are not so shocking or offensive as to be found scandalous within the meaning of the statute.

The TTAB summed up, saying the earlier decision is reversed, and:

We conclude that beer drinkers can cope with Applicant’s mark without suffering meaningful offense. Moreover, the consumer of this product who conjures up body parts or insults is nonetheless still likely to see the mark as an attempt at humor.

I’d better get Dan a t-shirt, at the very least, to commemorate his big victory. I hereby agree to buy up to two t-shirts for Dan, and one for the person who comes up with the best slogan, for the t-shirt and for this defender of the nut sack.

11/3/2015 Update:  many thanks to Doug Fairall, beer writer at the New Times Broward-Palm Beach, and TheBeerTaster.com, for letting us use the above photo from this article.

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11 Responses to “Nut Sack”

  1. October 30th, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Michelle says:

    For the T-shirt, how about “Keep your laws off of my Nutsack!”?

  2. October 30th, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Robert C. Lehrman says:

    Thanks Michelle. That’s the spirit. Hmmmm. I think the applicant does want the law all over his nut sack, and so I am not sure it totally works. How about “Keep Your Refusal Off My Nutsack”? I wonder if squirrels and the sacks at issue are inherently funny (or maybe not). There is also “Ask Me About My Nut Sack (Victory).”

  3. October 30th, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Kevin G. Rupy says:

    First of all: great job and congrats to Daniel and your firm (I’m sure his Mom will be proud!). A few for your consideration:

    “A cup won’t protect your Nut Sack like a great Trademark attorney will.”

    “Lehrman Beverage Law, PLLC: Protecting your Nut Sack since 2001.”

    “Lehrman Beverage Law, PLLC: We’ve got your Nut Sack covered.”

    I’m here all week.

  4. October 30th, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Robert C. Lehrman says:

    Kevin. I am grossly offended.

  5. October 30th, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Mike Bush says:

    “Thanks to Lehrman Beverage Law, I can enjoy my Nut Sack… and you can, too!”

  6. October 30th, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Robert C. Lehrman says:

    Now Mike that is very funny. That is tough to beat.

  7. October 30th, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Rich Baduini says:

    Don’t Tread on my Nut Sack”

  8. October 30th, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    John Szymankiewicz says:

    How about…

    [the USPTO]
    [the TTAB]
    [the ABC]
    drive you nuts, sometimes you need a Nut Sack (R)

  9. October 30th, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Luch says:

    First, great job Dan! We appreciate how attentively and expertly you handled the Nut Sack. It would be totally vulnerable and unprotected without you, and for the record the T-Shirt reads “Give our Nut Sack a Taste”. One will be in the mail to you directly!

  10. December 2nd, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Nut Sack Beer Wins A Hard-Fought Battle Against Lameness « Man Cave Daily says:

    […] the US trademark office decided that you can’t call a beer “Nut Sack Beer,” because of Ronald Reagan and the children, or something. There are much bigger, alcohol-related […]

  11. January 21st, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Nut Sack – beer.law says:

    […] Continued here. […]

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