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Dykes on Bikes Patently Offensive


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Vic Germany thought registering a federal trademark for San Francisco's iconic Dykes on Bikes organization would be no problem. After all, the nonprofit lesbian motorcycle group has become internationally known for riding in the lead position at San Francisco's pride parade every year for nearly three decades.




Instead, the group has spent a humiliating two years slogging through the swampland of trademark law, with no end in sight, said Germany, president of the San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent, a.k.a. Dykes on Bikes.


Twice, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected the Dykes' application, on the grounds that "dyke" is vulgar, offensive and "scandalous." Patent office attorneys even point to Webster's dictionary, which says dyke is "often used disparagingly."


...The applicants, in this case, prefer to call themselves dykes.


"We self-identify as dykes on bikes," said Germany, a 48-year-old San Francisco environmental consultant. "To us, (the government's objection) is completely absurd."



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