Japanese restaurant denied trademark over name deemed 'immoral'

Posted May 1, 2012 by Nicole Byerly
The Japanese restaurant 'Fuku' is set to open next month in Florida, however a controversy over their name disrupted the attempt for a trademark.
Fuku, which means "good fortune" in Japanese, is not living up to its name for one West Palm Beach restaurants owner.
Restaurant owner Paul Ardaji, said he came up with the name for the restaurant while he was on a business trip to Memphis, Tennessee with his business partner. "We were walking down the street and I said Fuku he looked at me strange but he got where I was going," said Ardaji.
When the two businessmen returned to Florida, they developed a business plan for their restaurant, now named 'Fuku' and turned in paperwork to trademark the name. The state denied the trademark once receiving the request, stating the name was 'immoral' and 'too similar to f--k you, which they believed it sounded like when pronounced (For the record, it's pronounced: "foo-koo").
In a letter to the owners' attorney, James D'Loughy, the Florida Department of State Divisions of Corporations stated they were denying the trademark request because, "The mark consists of, compromises or includes immoral, deceptive or scandalous matter."
Some residents of the area even said they believed this is what the name was for the new restaurant located on Clemantis Street, and read "f-you" out loud when they walk by.
Ardaji responded by saying, "The state looks at things from a very narrow scope. I think they'll realize it's not our intention to be scandalous or deceptive." Although they were unable to trademark the name, they are still able to open the restaurant next month. They are currently appealing the state's decision.