In its rejection of his appeal on Monday, the high court closed the door on lawyer Michael McDermott's two-year push to prevent the San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent's trademark registration of the name "Dykes on Bikes."
In his court papers, McDermott has called the moniker insulting to men and said the name comprises scandalous and immoral material.
In an e-mail response to the court's decision, McDermott issued a formal statement, in turn quoting Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia from a 2003 case:
"'Today's opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda,'" McDermott quoted.
Dykes on Bikes have been in existence for more than 30 years, fronting the annual San Francisco Pride Parade. The group organized under the formal name of San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent in the late 1980s.
In 2003, the group sought to trademark the informal name "Dykes on Bikes" after a person unaffiliated with the group started to use the name for commercial gain. The application was denied by the Trademark and Patent Office which found the name vulgar, said Brooke Oliver, one of the group's attorneys.
But after submitting evidence and expert statements showing "dyke" is no longer seen as derogatory,
the Trademark office reversed its decision in 2006.
That is when McDermott began his legal campaign against the name, said Greg Gilchrist, Oliver's co-counsel.
"He was the only person in the entire country who opposed it," Gilchrist said.
McDermott's objection was dismissed by the trademark office's Trademark and Trial and Appeal Board. He then took his case to the U.S, Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trademark board's dismissal.
"The Board found that McDermott, being a man, was not so 'implicated' by the (trade)mark and we agree that the registration of the proposed mark would have no 'implications' for a man," the judges wrote in their July 2007 decision.
The ruling has implications beyond the motorcycle group, Oliver said. "The case protects companies large and small and activist groups from random individuals with an ax to grind," Oliver said.