ABC News/ Devin Dwyer/ April 15, 2019
The Supreme Court debated the meaning and propriety of “FUCT” for nearly an hour on Monday — but the word was never spoken by any of the nine justices.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor referred to it as “a vulgar word with relationship to selling clothes,” a reference to the Los Angeles-based fashion brand by the same name, seeking to qualify for U.S. trademark protection.
Chief Justice John Roberts called it the “vulgar word at the heart of the case.” Justice Stephen Breyer called it a word “used to insult somebody, rather like fighting words.”
“FUCT” — which founder Erik Brunetti says is pronounced by saying each letter — was denied a trademark because the government deemed it “scandalous” and “immoral.”
The question before the court: Whether words like “FUCT” must be eligible for trademark registration because of First Amendment protection of free speech or whether there’s a legitimate public interest in keeping the government disassociated from profane language.
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