Bicycles were among the most common trademark around the turn of the 20th century. They were so abundant that the patent office in the U.S. had an entire building dedicated to them. This device revolutionized the industrial world in a myriad of ways, by democratizing mobility and allowing people to travel farther under their own power than ever before. This highly efficient form of transportation continues to be popular today for as many reasons as it was then. A simple search here for “bicycle” shows the abundance of bicycle trademarks over time. Here are a few of the more colorful ones we liked, just in time for spring!
“Sometimes political activists use a company’s trademark as part of a campaign to embarrass it or call attention to an issue. And sometimes the company sues, claiming that they own the mark and its satirical use is prohibited. Now a Utah court has ruled that such suits must fail because the parodic use of the mark is not commercial and is a form of protected speech.” [EFF via slashdot]
Wikipedia lists no fewer than five common slang variations on the phrase “your mom” including “yo mama”, “yo momma”, “yer ma”, “ya mum”, and “your mum”. These slang terms are “frequently used to insult [targets] by way of their mother.” There is an MTV television show devoted to these jokes:
and several android applications devoted to dispensing these jokes. Even Shakespeare made your mom jokes:
In Act IV, Scene II of Titus Andronicus, Aaron taunts his lover’s sons:
Demetrius: “Villain, what hast thou done?”
Aaron: “That which thou canst not undo.”
Chiron: “Thou hast undone our mother.”
Aaron: “Villain, I have done thy mother.”
The current US trademark for the term “yo mama” is held by Joey R. Susbilla and it protects his iPhone application. In the past, the trademark was held by American Restaurant Services for products as diverse as restaurant services, tv dinners, and a clothing line. Before that though, the More Balls Than Most Logo, Inc. held the trademark for the purpose of making Yo Mama brand yo-yos.
The term “your mom” also has a sorted trademark history. In 1982, it emerged as a registered trademark for the production of a Your Mom clothing line and then again in 2000 as a clothing line run by a YMI, Inc.. My personal favorite though is Your Mom branded malt beverages. Sadly, this usage was abandoned and replaced by the current holder, Lee Procurement Solutions, who own a whole clutch of newspapers scattered across small towns throughout the United States. More information about them can be found at: http://lee.net. The trademark they hold for “your mom” is for the production of a “downloadable electronic publication in the nature of a magazine targeting teenagers and addressing issues of news, entertainment and education.”