Everybody wants to say it, but one man wants to own it. It, meaning, the n-word. According to USA Today, a man named Curtis Bordenave has submitted an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for commercial use of the word "nigga."
"We plan on dictating the future of how we define this word," Bordenave told USA Today. "A young, black businessman from Mississippi has acquired the rights to the word. I think that’s a great ending to that story."
Bordenave's application comes at an opportune moment. The Supreme Court decided just last month that the federal government couldn't ban trademarks of disparaging words and symbols.
He attempted to trademark a similar word in 2008, but his application was denied. With the recent Supreme Court's ruling, he's giving it another shot by filing two trademark applications for the word, each covering a broad range of product possibilities: clothing, games, accessories, fragrances, charitable fundraising, humor and comedic performances, television show production, bumper stickers, campaign buttons, and mobile apps.
As of now, there are six trademark applications for "nigga" in play. Michael Williams, a registered patent attorney, said attempts to trademark "offensive" language like this are common, but hardly ever approved.
"The thing is, while you may see a large number of people trademarking offensive language, in my opinion, I think it's going to be tougher to have trademarks granted," Williams told USA Today. "There are certain words that are generic and impossible to obtain a trademark for. My guess is, absent of it being something like a group name or product that you’re selling, it is going to be very difficult for someone to go and trademark that particular slur, generally speaking."
Between Bill Maher using it on TV and non-black rapper Nav using it on his past records, everybody wants a piece of the n-word. I honestly don't see this trademark panning out for Bordenave, but hats off to him for trying anyway.