The San Francisco Women’s Motorcycle Contingent won its long-fought legal battle to trademark the name Dykes on Bikes on Jan 8, when the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of an appeal from a challenger. No further appeals are possible, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a final registration of the trademark.
Used for over 30 years, the moniker Dykes on Bikes refers to the motorized unit that traditionally leads the annual Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco.
Beginning in 2004, the non-profit SFWMC applied to trademark the name Dykes on Bikes in response to an unaffiliated individual’s attempt to trademark the name and profit from it. The Trademark Office initially rejected the application from SFWMC, on the grounds that the name Dykes on Bikes was disparaging to lesbians. The group marshaled expert evidence to the contrary, and after a protracted legal effort, their trademark application was granted in 2006.
Later that year, Dublin-based attorney Michael McDermott filed an opposition to the trademark and alleged that the name Dykes on Bikes was disparaging to men, while he accused the group of misconduct toward him and men generally. The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board dismissed his opposition as without standing, and in July 2007 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal, which afterwards reached the Supreme Court.