Trademarks That Make You Go Woah
In Malaysia, a prohibition that will result in a mark to be non-registrable mark is if it is scandalous or offensive. The term scandalous or offensive may be interpreted in a wide sense.
Comparing it to overseas countries, countries like America applies a more liberal application for the term. Specifically, in America, the issue is whether such prohibition in trademark name will be unconstitutional and go against the First Amendment — Americans’ right to freedom of speech.
In Iancu v. Brunetti, No. 18–302, 588 U.S. ___ (2019), it was held that the word “Fuct” can be registered as trademark although it was aurally and phonetically similar to profanity. Besides, there are many other trademarks that are deemed to be offensive but are still allowed all over America and the rest of the world.
Coming back to Malaysian law, it was stated in Section 14(1)(b) of the Trade Marks Act 1976 that a mark shall not be registered as a trade mark if it contains any scandalous or offensive matter or would otherwise be not be entitled to protection by any court of the law.
However, it was not specified in the law as to how a mark it may be considered scandalous or offensive. Therefore, if you own a trademark that may be deemed controversial, it is best to seek professional consultation.