News & Analysis as of

Blackhorse v Pro-Football

Supreme Court strikes down Lanham Act's disparagement clause as unconstitutional

by Dentons on

In a landmark decision that will significantly impact those seeking to block or cancel trademarks they consider offensive, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the "disparagement clause" of the federal trademark...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: The Slants, The Sims and SCAR Rifles

by WilmerHale on

Supreme Court Agrees to Review Bar on Registration of Disparaging Marks, Denies Washington Redskins' Petition to Join Proceedings - Supreme Court Agrees to Review Bar on Registration of Disparaging Marks, Denies...more

Supreme Court Set to Settle Dispute over Washington Redskins Trademark Registration

by Varnum LLP on

There has been another twist in the story of the long battle by Native American interest groups to obtain revocation of the U.S. registration of the infamous Washington Redskins trademark. This is another step in the 20-year...more

Of Slants, Skins And Signs: The Supreme Court Grants Certiorari

We have been following the course of In re Tam as it has progressed through the PTO and the courts. To recap, at issue is whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits the registration of marks that may disparage...more

No Budding in Line Washington Redskins

In a case with special significance to our DuetsBlog crew (our founder Steve Baird started the fight to cancel the THE REDSKINS trademark registrations in 1992 – see more about the Harjo case here) and significant to...more

A Hail Mary to the U.S. Supreme Court? Owner of REDSKINS Marks Petitions for Hearing on Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the...

Pro-Football, Inc., the owner of multiple U.S. service mark registrations for REDSKINS, REDSKINETTES, and WASHINGTON REDSKINS, took the somewhat unusual step last week of petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of...more

In re Tam Redux Redux: Redskins Petition for Certiorari, Trying to Skip 4th Cir.

In response to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) petition for writ of certiorari in to the U.S. Supreme Court In re Tam (“THE SLANTS” case), the owners of the Washington Redskins filed their own...more

Of Slants, Skins And Signs: The March To The Supreme Court

This week saw developments in the two cases challenging the application of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act to their registration: In re Tam and Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc....more

Scandalous and Disparaging Marks: The Race to the Trademark Office Is On

Owners of scandalous, immoral, or disparaging marks are on notice: now is the time to place your $275 bet with the USPTO. And soon, the Trademark Office database may be “NSFW.”...more

Did the Federal Circuit Just Save the Redskins’ trademark registrations?

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. on

Yesterday the Federal Circuit issued its decision in In re Tam, an appeal filed by a musician whose application to register the mark THE SLANTS had been refused registration on the ground that it was disparaging to Asian...more

Intellectual Property and Technology News Series: Supreme Court Corner: Q4 2015

by DLA Piper on

RECENT DECISIONS Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., et al. (9th Cir.)* COPYRIGHT – DECIDED: SEPTEMBER 14, 2015 Holding: A copyright owner must consider fair use prior to issuing a take-down notice under 17 U.S.C. §...more

Intellectual Property and Technology News - Issue 27 Q3 2015

by DLA Piper on

In This Issue: How Private is That Connected Car? US v EU Among the fastest growing sectors in the industry of smart things is the connected car. No longer a simple way from point A to point B, cars now...more

Supreme Court Corner – Q3 2015

by DLA Piper on

In Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, the Supreme Court upheld a long-standing precedent that restricts the ability of a patent holder to charge a royalty beyond the term of a patent. In a 6-3 decision, the Court declined to...more

Redskins Trademark Decision

by Archer Norris PLC on

On July 8, 2015, a Virginia District Court ordered the cancellation of six NFL Redskins trademark registrations, under a Lanham Act prohibition against registering marks that “may disparage” a referenced class at the time of...more

Redskins Trademarks – Answers to Key Questions Regarding Recent Ruling

by Sands Anderson PC on

Last week, the U.S. District Court sitting in Alexandria, Virginia granted what would appear to be a sweeping victory to a group of five Native Americans who have renewed attempts to cancel the federal registrations of...more

Washington’s NFL Team and U.S. Customs

Last week the NFL franchise that plays football near — but not in — our Nation’s Capital, was dealt another significant legal and public relations blow that would have any rational brand owner working overtime on its...more

The Redskins Lose Another Battle in the War to Keep Their Trademarks Registered

by Fish & Richardson on

It is generally accepted in this day and age that “Redskins” is considered a disparaging or offensive term for a person of Native American descent. However, whether the government gets to decide if a sports team, or any...more

Lawyer Who Started Fight Over "R-Word" Mascot Awaits Decision

About a quarter century ago, Steve Baird — at the time, a freshly minted graduate of the University of Iowa law school clerking for a federal judge in Washington, D.C. — was spending most of his free weekends working on an...more

Sue-per Bowl Shuffle 2014: The Year in NFL-Related Intellectual Property Litigation

Heading into this year’s Super Bowl party season, there are two things every lawyer should be concerned about. First, why can’t your team get it together? Second, what do you do if you are asked to explain to your friends and...more

Washington Redskins Challenge the Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act

The Washington Redskins trademark controversy is far from over. Despite the fact that certain news and sports commentators and mainstream newspapers and organizations have announced that they will no longer use the term...more

TTAB’s Washington Redskins Decision: the Enforceability and Commercial Impact of Cancelled Trademarks

by Ladas & Parry LLP on

The cancellation of a U.S. trademark registration on any grounds, including disparagement, does not always mean the end of enforceable rights in the mark. However, cancellation may create both legal and financial...more

Redskins Ruling is Consistent with TTAB Precedent

In Blackhorse v. Pro-Football Inc., the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office once again canceled various registrations for trademarks used by the Washington Redskins football team as being disparaging to Native Americans. While...more

Could Offensive Trademarks Find Refuge in Common Law?

by Fenwick & West LLP on

The 177-page tome the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) just issued in Blackhorse v. Pro-Football Inc. is remarkable for its length and its subject matter, cancellation of the controversial REDSKINS mark as disparaging...more

A Football Team, by Any Other Name…: USPTO Decision Illustrates that Law is More than Hard & Fast Rules

by Varnum LLP on

At Meadowlawn Elementary in the 1960s, my West Michigan friends and I would boast about things that made us "better" than each other. It was the golden age of Superman comics and, while I didn't have super strength or x-ray...more

Beyond Disparaging: Five Important Clarifications Regarding Redskins Trademark Decision

Over the past year, debate regarding whether the National Football League’s Washington, D.C. franchise should continue to call itself the Redskins has risen to a fever pitch once again. So, naturally, it was big news when, on...more

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