National Post

Distillery fights feds over ‘scandalous’ name

Lucky Bastard vodka

- By Alex MacPherson

SASKATOON • A Saskatoon company’s attempt to trademark its flagship vodka has turned into a four-year battle with the federal government over the definition of “bastard.”

In 2011, LB Distillers applied to the Canadian Intel- lectual Property Office (CIPO) to register “Lucky Bastard vodka” as a trademark. About eight months later, the agency responsibl­e for trademarks, patents and copyright replied.

“The examiner came back and said it was immoral, scandalous and obscene, and that the general population of Canada would agree that it was an immoral name,” company coowner Cary Bowman said.

The micro- distillery’s appeal was rejected in 2012, but the company persisted, filing a separate applicatio­n to register “Lucky Bastard.”

On Oct. 8, CIPO sent a letter to LB Distillers stating that it “does not appear registrabl­e” because it violates the Canadian Trademarks Act, which prohibits trademarks that include “any scandalous, obscene or immoral word or device.”

The letter includes an extract from the Collins English Dictionary defining “bastard” as “informal” and “offensive.”

The name alludes to LB Distillers founders Michael Goldney and Lacey Crocker, who won a $14.6-million Lotto 6/49 jackpot in 2006.

Bowman noted a search of the trademark database reveals several containing the word “bastard” — including Fat Bastard wine. The situation amounts to one examiner applying his or her views to the process, he said.

The dispute has cost LB Distillers about $ 5,000 in legal fees, but the company plans to pursue the matter, he said.

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