A famous group of lesbian bikers in San Francisco has won the right to retain the trademark to the name ‘Dykes on Bikes’.
The women were facing an injunction by an attorney to stop the name from being trademarked or used. Michael McDermott claimed that the name was “disparaging to men and is scandalous and immoral.”
However, the U.S. Supreme Court has now effectively allowed the women to keep using the name after it refused to hear a challenge to an earlier ruling by a lower court that rejected McDermott’s claims.
“I am delighted the Supreme Court denied review and that Dykes on Bikes will be protected under law,” said Vick Germany, the group’s president. “We have used the name Dykes on Bikes for over 30 years as a mark of pride and dignity, taking it away from those who formerly used it as an epithet.”
The group of women first tried to register the name in 2004 and were repeatedly rejected by the Trademark Office on the basis that the word ‘dyke’ is disparaging.
After a number of appeals, including input from numerous academics, activists and other experts showing how the word ‘dyke’ has evolved to become a positive term and that lesbians view Dykes on Bikes as a symbol of pride and empowerment, they were granted a trademark to the name in December 2005.
They were then faced with the injunction by McDermott.
Dykes On Bikes traditionally leads the annual San Francisco Pride parade and are known around the world. This is apparently the first time that the word ‘dyke’ has been included in a trademark in the US.