Mississippi man files trademark for slang version of N-word

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Source:  Clarion-Ledger/Sarah Fowler

A black Mississippi man has filed a trademark for a version of a racial slur — the N-word.

Curtis Bordenave, who is black, filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for commercial use of n—a.

Bordenave’s application comes on the heels of a June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a federal law that prohibited trademarks of disparaging words and symbols.

“We plan on dictating the future of how we define this word,” Bordenave said. “A young, black businessman from Mississippi has acquired the rights to the word. I think that’s a great ending to that story.”

Bordenave grew up in New Orleans and lived in Jackson until recently. Married with four kids, Bordenave now resides in Columbus, where he works as a consultant helping businesses brand themselves. With a concentration in the beauty market, Bordenave also gives seminars at hair shows across the country, educating stylists on brand recognition and intellectual property rights.

“We try to educate the small companies so they’re not forced out of business by some big company,” he said.

The latest application isn’t Bordenave’s first attempt to trademark a similar word. In 2008, he said he filed two different applications — one for “nig” and one for “g-ga” — with the intent of merging the two words to create a new business venture. He said the application for “nig” was denied.

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