Fox Media’s trademark application for “OK BOOMER” was refused by the USPTO on February 4th.

In issuing the refusal, the USPTO examiner found that “OK BOOMER” was a widely used and common place message. The rule that was applied by the examiner, 1202.04(b), essentially states that you cannot register a meme or a popular phrase because it cannot be tied to any particular company. It’s free for anybody to use.

At this point, Fox Media has six months to appeal the decision. However, this sort of refusal is extremely difficult to get around and it would be nearly impossible for Fox Media to win.

Nothing about this refusal prevents Fox Media from creating an “OK BOOMER” TV show. It only means that they cannot own the trademark registration, which would make any policing of the name very difficult.