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It looks like the iconic female motorcycle enthusiasts known for big entrances at pride parades across the country won't have to rename themselves "Gay Women on Two-Wheeled Road Vehicles" after all. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday reversed its previous refusals to trademark the name "Dykes on Bikes" because it deemed the name derogatory. "We are thrilled Dykes on Bikes will be protected under trademark and recognized as a celebration of our identity," said Vick Germany, president of the San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent.
The battle for the name began when the nonprofit San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent sought registration of the name Dykes on Bikes when an individual, unassociated with the organization, attempted to use the phrase for commercial purposes and wanted to charge contingents throughout the country for its use.
Declaring the name Dykes on Bikes disparaging to lesbians, the Trademark Office twice rejected the group's application for a trademark last year. The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a legal advocate for gays and lesbians, along with the Brooke Oliver Law Group, rallied for the organization, submitting evidence from professionals who argued dyke had overcome its pejorative nature and was now seen as an exclamation of pride and defiance in the community.
Oliver, the lead attorney on the case, argued that the initial refusals for trademark rights had nothing to do with keeping lesbians from being denigrated. "The positive spirit and legitimacy of Dykes on Bikes has been vindicated. We are delighted that we have reversed this official federal position of bigotry," she said. (Advocate.com)