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Communications & Media Constitutional Law

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Communications & Media issues written by leading professionals.

Supreme Court Holds Statute Banning Registration of Disparaging Marks Violates the First Amendment

by Brinks Gilson & Lione on

This past Monday, June 19, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Matal v. Tam, No. 15-1293, 582 U.S. ___ (2017). Section...more

Getting Specific about Specific Jurisdiction: Bristol-Myers Squibb

On June 19, the United States Supreme reaffirmed some basic principles of personal jurisdiction in Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, 528 U.S. __ (2017). In a bloody-good 8-1 decision (with only...more

Social Links: SCOTUS strikes down law banning sex offenders from social media, denies cert in “dancing baby” case; Germany may...

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that a North Carolina law that the state has used to prosecute more than 1,000 sex offenders for posting on social media is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment....more

Siding with The Slants: Ban on Disparaging Marks Held Unconstitutional

by Jones Day on

Asian rock band The Slants is no longer "The Band Who Must Not Be Named," as they titled their most recent album. On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided Matal v. Tam, striking a provision of the Lanham Act,...more

Supreme Court Holds that First Amendment Protects Disparaging Trademarks

by Bass, Berry & Sims PLC on

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court emphasized the importance of broad free speech protection in striking down a statute that allows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to refuse registration of disparaging trademarks....more

Supreme Court Declares First Amendment Interest in Access to Social Networks

by Fenwick & West LLP on

The internet has become so essential to American public discourse that saying so is almost trite now. Members of Congress regularly use social media to engage with constituents. The President has turned Twitter into one of...more

Matal v. Tam: Trademark Disparagement Clause Held Unconstitutional

by Shearman & Sterling LLP on

Yesterday, the Supreme Court held in an 8–0 decision that the disparagement clause in the Trademark statute—which prohibits the registration of trademarks that may “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contemp[t] or disrepute”...more

A Good Day for Free Speech Advocates: Supreme Court Holds Unconstitutional Federal Trademark Law’s Anti-Disparagement Provision

by Snell & Wilmer on

In Matal v. Tam, the United States Supreme Court held unconstitutional, under the First Amendment, the “disparagement clause” of 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), which permits denial of a trademark registration application by the United...more

Eleventh Circuit Does Not Skim Over First Amendment Concerns in Labeling Milk

Be careful not to skim over potential First Amendment challenges to commercial speech regulations in labeling cases. By ‘whey’ of example, the Eleventh Circuit recently found that the actions of the Florida Commissioner of...more

Supreme Court Strikes Down Statute Banning Disparaging Trademarks

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court in Matal v. Tam unanimously held that a portion of 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), the Lanham Act provision that prohibits the registration of trademarks that may “disparage . . . persons, living or...more

Preserving California’s Tied-House Rules - Ninth Circuit en banc decision upholds decades-old law restricting alcohol beverage...

On June 14, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, issued its decision in Retail Digital Network LLC v. Ramona Prieto, Case No. 13-56069, D.C. No 2:11-cv-09065-CBM-PJW. The decision rejects a...more

Supreme Court Fells North Carolina Statute on First Amendment Grounds, Recognizes Cyberspace and Social Media As the Most...

by Jackson Walker on

Yesterday’s unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Packingham v. North Carolina is one of the first decisions in which the Court has addressed broadly the relationship between the First Amendment and social media,...more

Your trademarks now can (but needn’t) be offensive

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

If you want to — though we don’t encourage it — you can now disparage ethnic groups in your federally registered trademarks. Indeed, the Supreme Court has unanimously given you a constitutional right to select, and obtain...more

In Landmark Decision, the Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Provision of the Lanham Act that Prohibits Registration of Disparaging...

by Payne & Fears on

On Monday, June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court in Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S._ (2017), unanimously struck down the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1052(a), on grounds that it violates the Free Speech Clause...more

THE SLANTS Decision Affects More than a 2(a) and an (R)

In Monday’s decision in the newly minted, Matal v. Tam case, the Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit decision that the Trademark Office’s refusal to register THE SLANTS mark on disparagement grounds was...more

Social Media and Student Discipline – Where Are We?

The United States Supreme Court stated nearly 50 years ago that public school students do not shed their rights to free speech at the schoolhouse gate. In Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., the Court struck down...more

Ninth Circuit En Banc Panel Holds that Central Hudson Survives Sorrell

by Reed Smith on

Last week we bashed a Ninth Circuit Daubert decision. We feel a little bit bad about that, not because the decision wasn’t bashworthy – no, Wendell really is a rotten precedent – but because we hate contributing to the...more

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Slants Rock Band

On Monday, June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) invalidated a 70-year-old provision of U.S. trademark law that previously barred registration of “offensive” trademarks. The high court held that the federal...more

Upon Further Review: Supreme Court Ruling Means “Redskins” Trademark Registrations Are Still In Play

by Jackson Walker on

This week the U.S. Supreme Court held the “disparagement clause” – a federal trademark provision that prohibits the registration of a trademark “which may disparage” . . . persons, . . . , institutions, . . . beliefs, or...more

Yes, There is the Right to Facebook (Or Tweet) in the Constitution

by Poyner Spruill LLP on

We had previously written about Packingham v. North Carolina, where the Supreme Court of the United States confronted the question of whether, in an effort to protect minors, States can bar individuals on the sex offender...more

Supreme Court Decides Packingham v. North Carolina, No. 15-1194.

by Faegre Baker Daniels on

On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided Packingham v. North Carolina, No. 15-1194, holding that a North Carolina statute that bars registered sex offenders from accessing social networking websites that...more

Section 2(a), a Happy-Talk Clause, Really?

We can be certain of one thing for sure, the Supreme Court’s decision today, striking down the disparagement clause of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act will be analyzed for some time....more

Social Links: Instagram’s new tool to denote paid posts; the world’s 1st autonomous-vehicle public transportation system for the...

Instagram is now allowing a limited number of users to identify branded content with a “paid partnership” subhead instead of using hashtags like #ad and #sponsored to identify sponsored posts. The platform says it plans to...more

TCPA Tracker - June 2017

by Kelley Drye & Warren LLP on

D.C. Circuit Denies Request for En Banc Review of Fax Advertisement Decision On June 6, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied a request by a group of class action plaintiff petitioners in...more

Social Links: Court disallows firing over Facebook page rant; Ether threatens Bitcoin’s reign as top digital currency; NBA slam...

One year since agreeing with the European Commission to remove hate speech within 24 hours of receiving a complaint about it, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are removing flagged content an average of 59% of the...more

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