WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The male erotic dancer company Chippendales stumbled on Friday when an appeals court ruled that it could not trademark the bow tie and shirt cuffs that the men wear.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in a ruling — which included a sketch of a fit gentleman shown from the waist up wearing only a bow tie and shirt cuffs — that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was correct in refusing to trademark the “Cuffs and Collar” costume.
New York-based Chippendales, which filed the original trademark application in 2000, failed to prove that the bow tie and cuffs costume was distinctive, the court said.
The court noted that the Chippendales’ expert witness acknowledged that the outfit was “inspired” by the Playboy bunny suit, thus stripping the Chippendales’ Cuffs & Collar of the distinctiveness needed to get a trademark.
The Playboy bunny suit was trademarked in 1964 and expired in 2004, the court said. That costume is shirt cuffs, corset, tie, bunny ears and bunny tail.
Reporting by Diane Bartz. Editing by Robert MacMillan