Controversy over possible trademark registration for the phrase “Freedom Tower: Make Love Not War” to market condoms.

The New York post has a short account of a burgeoning dispute about this entitled: September 11 Condom-Nation. Like most mass media stories about intellectual property, a lot of relevant detail is missing. Here is the entire article:

A German entrepreneur has taken bad taste to new heights – applying for a federal trademark to use the Freedom Tower to market a line of condoms.

The request now before the US Patent and Trademark Office has 9/11 families howling and the tower’s owner, the Port Authority, scrambling to block it.

“It boggles my mind as to how someone could use the name ‘Freedom Tower’ on a package of condoms,” fumed Jack Lynch, whose firefighter son, Michael, died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I find it very offensive. The idea that anyone would use something associated with 9/11 to promote any product is upsetting. But to promote condoms, that goes a step beyond.”

The Munich-based marketer, Torsten Blueher, has an application to use the slogan “Freedom Tower Make Love Not War” on condom packaging. He also has applied separately to use the tower’s name on dozens of other products.

The feds have yet to issue a final determination on the request.

PA officials have already begun efforts to block Blueher’s trademark application.

A few minutes at the PTO database showed that Torsten Blueher applied an ITU application for “Freedom Tower: Make Love Not War” for condoms in 2006 (see application; serial number 77001337) and has received two extensions of time in which to actually use the mark so that registration can move forward. He has applied to register “Freedom Tower” for as a mark for a wide range of products and services besides condoms, including alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea, clothing, jewelry, and incredibly enough, providing bungee jumping facilities.

I assume the opposition will be based on 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which precludes registration of a mark which “consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.”

I guess the appeal of the mark to Blueher is that “Freedom Tower” references a (wait for it) massive erection.

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