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Dykes on Bikes®



After a three year court battle, we are thrilled ‘DYKES ON BIKES®’ will be protected under trademark and recognized as a celebration of our identity,” said Vick Germany, the group’s president. Soni Wolf, SFWMC secretary said, “This is a great victory for dyke pride and visibility -- not just for our group, but for lesbians across the country who value ‘DYKES ON BIKES®’ as an affirmation of lesbian strength and resilience.

-- July 12, 2007

See News


Trademark Timeline      // 01.07.08 // max

Dykes On Bikes Trademark Application Description of Services and Timeline 
Brooke Oliver and Pablo Manga
Brooke Oliver Law Group, P.C.

2003—July—San Francisco Women’s Motorcycle Contingent becomes aware that a Wisconsin woman is trying to trademark Dykes on Bikes as the name of a clothing company.  SFWMC and Brooke Oliver Law Group, P.C. object to this commercial use and file SFWMC trademark application in connection with non-commercial community LGBT pride events. 

2003-07-31- SFWMC Dykes on Bikes Trademark application filed 

2004-02-09 – Months later, the case file is assigned to an examining attorney for review 

2004-02-20 – PTO refuses the application on the ground that the trademark is disparaging to lesbians. 

2004-08-23 – Brooke Oliver Law Group submits response to PTO Office Action with evidence about Dykes On Bikes, the word dyke in the LGBT community, and legal argument about correct legal standard to apply 

2004-10-28 – PTO refuses the application for the second time, this time making it a final refusal (i.e. refusing the application on the same grounds, namely that the trademark is disparaging to lesbians).

2005-04-28 – Brooke Oliver Law Group and the National Center for Lesbian Rights submit a Request for Reconsideration to the examining attorney, together with more than two dozen expert declarations, and simultaneously submit an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to appeal the refusal if the examining attorney does not reverse her decision.  The TTAB suspends the appeal while the PTO considers the Request for Reconsideration. 

2005-05-26 – PTO denies the Request for Reconsideration, making its third refusal of the application and claiming, for the first time, that dyke is “vulgar” in addition to disparaging.  Despite hundreds of pages of evidence and 26 expert declarations, the PTO said there was little new, and cited a 1913 Webster’s dictionary definition that had been put on the internet by an independent company and an individual’s spanish/english translations of vulgar phrases as evidence for its decision.  See documents at www.artemama.com. The application is then sent back to the TTAB to continue the appeal. 

2005-06-15 – Law firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew joins the legal team for the appeal.  Law firm DLA Piper Rudnick also joins the legal team and prepares to file an amicus brief in support of the appeal. 

2005-09-15 – Legal team submits additional evidence (video tape compilation of recent Pride parades in San Francisco and citation to PTO’s own registry for prior marks like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Queer as Folk,”) and asks the TTAB to remand the application to the PTO to consider the evidence. 

2005-11-02 – TTAB remands the application to the PTO examining attorney to consider the additional evidence. 

2005-12-05 – PTO reverses its position that Dykes on Bikes is disparaging and approves the trademark application for publication.  This means that it has overcome the government hurdles and, after a brief period for public comment, the trademark will proceed to registration and the trademark will be protected.

2007-7-12 - U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a final ruling yesterday affirming the group’s trademark of the name “DYKES ON BIKES.” The Court of Appeals rejected the argument that the name “DYKES ON BIKES” was disparaging to men. Barring Supreme Court intervention, yesterday’s decision removed the last obstacle to registration of the trademark.

2008-1-07 U.S. Supreme Court turned away a challenge from a lawyer who said the term "Dykes on Bikes" denigrated men.

: ............................................................................ :

Dykes on Bikes Gives the Trademark Office a Linguistics Lesson
Brooke Oliver Law Group, P.C.

Reversing its previous decision, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to grant trademark status to 'Dykes on Bikes,' announced lead counsel Brooke Oliver. "Our clients felt quite strongly that the mark should continue to be reserved for non-profit purposes," Oliver said, noting that the group has allowed other non-profit groups across the country to use the name for gay pride events. "No one should be able to profit commercially from years and years of activism.'' Pablo Manga, associate attorney in the firm, explained that "The reversal came after the case was appealed to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which remanded it to the USPTO to reconsider."

The firm did over $50,000 in pro bono legal work on the case, and assembled a landmark pro bono team of intellectual property lawyers, scholars, authors and activists that made this victory possible. The collaboration of our firm, NCLR, Townsend Townsend and Crew, and DLA Piper Rudnick showed how effectively committed lawyers can cooperate toward a common goal. "We are proud of the victory, proud to represent the San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent, and very gratified by the cooperation and support of such incredible co-counsel," concluded Oliver.

: ............................................................................ :

Dykes on Bikes Declarations

Declarations submitted in support of brief to the US Trademark office requesting reconsideration for the Trademark "Dykes on Bikes." From NCLR all files pdf

: ............................................................................ :

Key Documents      // 10.18.07 // max

Key documents associated with the case are available by clicking on these links, including over two dozen expert declarations submitted before the appeal.

pdf Trademark office says "Yes" to "DYKES ON BIKES"
pdf Trademark Application
pdf USPTO's Initial Refusal
pdf USPTO's Second Refusal
pdf Brief to the USPTO Requesting Reconsideration
  View Declarations in Support of Request for Reconsideration here
pdf Reconsideration Request of USPTO's Refusal
pdf- I
pdf- 2
Request to Remand for Additional Evidence:
pdf USPTO's Approval for Publication
pdf DYKES ON BIKES Description of Services and Timeline
pdf Opposition No. 91169211 Michael J. McDermott San Francisco Women’s Motorcycle Contingent Mailed:September 13, 2006
pdf Petition For A Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court of the US McDermott vs SF Women's Motorcycle Contingent to US Court of appeals for the Federal Court October 9, 2007


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Press, Blogs and Buzz       // 01.08.08 // max

The most extensive collection of links regarding the historic Dykes on Bikes® Trademark Lawsuit. U.S. Trademark Serial No. 78281746


Decision removes last obstacle to registration of trademark
Press Release / / Oliver-Sabec P.C., Townsend and Townsend and Crew, LLP and National Center for Lesbian Rights Victorious in Fight for Lesbian Visibility
January 8, 2008

Dykes n Bikes' trademark survives Dublin lawyer's challenge
San Francisco Chronicle / /
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
January 7, 2008


Snafus involving Marines in S.F. and Oakland have critics raving
San Francisco Chronicle / / Carl Nolte, Chronicle Staff Writer
October 4, 2007

Dykes on Bikes Rule
Gay City News / / By: Arthur S. Leonard
July 19, 2007

For Dykes on Bikes, A Lot’s Riding on a Name
BeyondChron.org / / by Tommi Avicolli-Mecca‚
July 18‚ 2007

Dykes On Bikes Finally Win Their Rough Trademark Fight
SuicideGirls.com / / Submitted by Uncognitive. Edited By Uncognitive
July 17‚ 2007

Dykes on Bikes opposition fails on appeal
IPKat - IP news and fun for everyone
July 17, 2007

Dykes on Bikes = Non-scandalous and Perfectly Moral
Ourchart.com - The Hookup : The L Word / posted by Lisa
July 16, 2007

Dykes On Bikes Win Suit Over Name Trademark
Gay Wired // By Anthony Cuesta
A federal appeals court ruled this week that the name "Dykes on Bikes" is inoffensive and a legitimate trademark, tossing out a lawsuit from a man …
July 14, 2007

Lesbian cycling wins fight to keep ‘Dyke’ trademark
San Diego Union-Tribune
The name “Dykes on Bikes” is inoffensive and a legitimate trademark, a federal appeals court ruled this week. . The Dykes on Bikes …
July 13, 2007

SF Lesbian Biker Club To Keep ‘Dykes On Bikes’ Trademark - Decision Ends Years-Long Battle
NBC 11 Bay Area, CA (KNTV)
A federal appeals court has ruled the name "Dykes on Bikes" is inoffensive and a legitimate trademark.. . The Dykes on Bikes motorcycle club …
July 13, 2007

Man can’t challenge Dykes on Bikes name
A federal appeals court in Washington has ruled men have no legal right to object to the name "Dykes on Bikes." . The U.S. Court of Appeals …
July 13, 2007

Suit opposing use of ‘Dyke’ left in dust
San Francisco Chronicle
Offended by the name Dykes on Bikes? Get over it, at least if you're a man, a federal appeals court says. . Men have no legal basis for being …
July 13, 2007

Man has no legal grounds for objecting to ‘Dykes on Bikes,’ court says
San Francisco Chronicle
Offended by the name Dykes on Bikes? Get over it, at least if you're a man, a federal appeals court says. . Men have no legal basis for being …
July 13, 2007

Dykes On Bikes Win Court Case - Roll Over "Disparaged" Man
July 13th, 2007

Dykes on Bikes now have legal protection
The Bilerico Project / / Filed by: Alex Blaze
July 13, 2007

Dykes On Bikes Suit Tossed
July 13, 2007

Federal Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Dykes on Bikes in Landmark Trademark Case
Press Release / / Oliver-Sabec P.C., Townsend and Townsend and Crew, LLP and National Center for Lesbian Rights Victorious in Fight for Lesbian Visibility
July 12, 2007

Proud to Be 'Dykes'
Lesbian Nation.com / / : By Dylan Vox

Dyke Drama: A not-so-excellent adventure through U.S. trademark law
American Sexuality is an online magazine targeting the general public with provocative interviews, critical essays, and accessible articles on state-of-the-art research. / / : By Barbara Raab

Barbara Raab. (20 Apr 06). Rough Ride. American Sexuality magazine.
Retrieved from http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/MagArticle.cfm?Article=601&PageID=0
January 25, 2007


Dykes on Bikes and the Regulation of Vulgarity
The International Journal of Motorcycle Studies (IJMS) / / : K. Alex Ilyasova
November 2006

Dykes on Bikes
Dog Snot Diaries / / : Posted by Gordon
October 11, 2006 / 1:36 AM

Citable No. 44: TTAB Dismisses "DYKES ON BIKES" Opposition for Lack of Standing
The TTABlog: Keeping Tabs on the TTAB® / / : by John L. Welch
September 15, 2006

One Man Cannot Stand in the Way of Those DYKES ON BIKES
I/P Updates / / : Courtesy of William F. Heinze
September 15, 2006

Homophobic “Dykes On Bikes” Trademark Opposer Held To Lack Standing
Because He Pees Standing

Sivacracy.Net / / : Posted by Ann Bartow
September 18, 2006 / 03:12 PM

The Right to Own ‘Dyke
Advocate.com / / : Bob Adams
June 20, 2006

Dykes on Bikes Becomes Dykes on Segways?
FakeGayNews.com Spoof article that says the legendary Dykes on Bikes be leading Pride parades with hundreds of Segway Human Transporters®. (it's a joke, and pretty funny ) / / : by Kellie C. Mallers
May 22, 2006

The “N” WorD
Woman Honor Thyself / / : filed under Angel's Musings
February 24th, 2006 / 12:57 PM


Dykes on Bikes Trademark Trial and Appeals Board Victory!
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) / / : is a national legal organization committed to advancing the legal and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

Dykes and Bikes
VeriTrademark Zen: A "blawg" loosely grounded in trademark law, but mostly created to placate my insatiable need for self-indulgent self-expression and also to allow me to throw around two dollar words like placate, insatiable, etc...
/ / : Posted by Danny Bronski
December 18, 2005 / 12:28 AM

Dykes On Bikes’ Mark Approved
Lawdit Reading Room - regulated by the Law Society of England & Wales
December 11, 2005

Trademark office OKs 'Dykes on Bikes' Motorcycle group's name on its way to becoming registered
San Francisco Chronicle / / : Julian Guthrie, Chronicle Staff Writer
December 9, 2005

Lesbians Trademark "Dykes on Bikes"
Biker News Online
December 08, 2005

Trademark office OKs "Dykes on Bikes"
PlanetOut Network/ / : Christopher Curtis,
December 8, 2005 / 02:32 PM

Trademark Office Says Yes to Dykes on Bikes - Brooke Oliver Law Group, National Center For Lesbian Rights, And Townsend And Townsend And Crew Victorious In Fight For Lesbian Visibility
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Press Releases
December 8, 2005

dykes on bikes trademark rejected--vulgar! offensive! scandalous!!!
Intellectual Property - Prof. Noveck
New York Law School ~ Fall 2005
/ / : Posted by Todd_Marcus
November 21, 2005 / 06:31 PM

Lesbian bike brigade demands trademark for club name
Daily Times - a new voice for a new Pakistan
July 28, 2005

Equal Opportunity IP
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) / / : Posted by Elizabeth Stark
July 27, 2005 / 05:28 PM

Rough Trademark
Reason Hit & Run / / : Melanie Colburn
July 27, 2005 / 4:38pm

TTABlog Predicts TTAB Reversal of "DYKES ON BIKES" Refusal
Keeping Tabs on the TTAB / / : by John L. Welch
July 21, 2005

Dykes on Bikes
Translation Blog / / : Posted by Céline
July 20, 2005

Trademark This Part II ( see Trademark this )
Dykes To Watch Out For : The Blog / / : Alison Bechdel
July 19, 2005

Lesbian Bikers Denied Trademark
The New Standard / / : by Brendan Coyne
July 19, 2005

Dykes On Bikes Get Fucked
Barzelay.net / / : by David Barzelay Posted
July 18, 2005 / 04:38 AM

Disparaging trademarks and the lexicography of tools
Language Log / / : Posted by Mark Liberman
July 16, 2005 / 08:10 AM

Trademark this ( see Trademark This Part II )
Dykes To Watch Out For : The Blog / / : Alison Bechdel
July 15, 2005

Attorneys find Dykes on Bikes patently offensive, reject name
San Francisco Chronicle / / : Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
July 14, 2005

my queer dyke cunt
apophenia :: making connections where none previously existed
/ / : Posted by zephoria.
July 14, 2005 / 09:50 AM

Visible is not Accepted
Live Journal at 8:46 AM
July 14, 2005

PTO shows political bias, rejects "Dykes on Bikes" as "offensive"
LawGeek: Thoughts on Things By Jason Schultz
July 14, 2005

Rejection of Trademark Application for DYKES ON BIKES Front Page News
Bridging the Gap: Patrick Guevara's Trademark Blawg / / : A San Francisco Bay Area Attorney’s Law-Related Blog (or “blawg”) on Trademarks, Domain Names, Brands, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets.
July 14, 2005

USPTO nixes trademark app for "Dykes on Bikes"
BoingBoing / / : posted by Xeni Jardin
July 14, 2005 / 01:41:15 PM

Trademark Office Says No to Dykes on Bikes- National Center for Lesbian Rights and Brooke Oliver Law Group Vow to Keep Fighting for Lesbian Visibility
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Press Releases
July 14, 2005



 “ With regard “dyke,” the word itself has never been exclusively negative either, and there are two theories in particular that explain how it has evolved into a term for aggressive or masculine women. The Legend of Boudica  Was Boadicea a savage attempting to destroy a superior civilization in a series of atrocities (and a female savage to boot... )? Or was she a patriotic leader rising up against an alien and brutal occupying power?       -- Antonia Fraser, The Warrior Queens

  The first has to do with a “Celtic queen who organized a revolt against the Roman Empire in early Britain in 67 A.D.” (Halberstam, “Declaration”). Her name was Queen Boudicca, pronounced “buadyke” in some dialects, and her stand against the Romans is sometimes claimed as a model for early versions of female power and toughness in women (Grahn, “Declaration”).  
 Horae	(Seasons)  The three daughters of Zeus and the Titaness, Themis, were originally personifications of the seasons: spring, summer and winter.  Later they became abstract personification of law and order: Eirene ("Peace"), Eunomia ("Order"), and Dike ("Justice"). They were probably sisters of the Fates (Moerae).  They were waiting to greet Aphrodite, when she sprung out of the sea foams. The Horae dressed the newly born goddess and escorted her to Olympus. Like the Graces, they became Aphrodite's companions and attendants.  The Romans identified Eirene with Pax, the Roman goddess of peace.  Although I do enjoy this version, with regard to the (Dykes on Bikes) trademark case I prefer the second theory, which claims that the word “dyke” comes from the Greek goddess Dike. According to one source, although “She may have started her career on Earth, [she] quickly moved up to sitting on the Right (Dike means Right) of Zeus as his number one counselor. She was the Goddess of Justice” (Athena).

  With regard to this role, another source explains that, “she watched the deeds of man, and approached the throne of Zeus with lamentations whenever a judge violated justice. … She was the enemy of all falsehood, and the protectress of a wise administration of justice

Dykes on Bikes and the Regulation of Vulgarity
The International Journal of Motorcycle Studies (IJMS) / / : K. Alex Ilyasova
November 2006


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