Disparagement

News & Analysis as of

When Trademark Registration is a Nice Gesture

Representations of gestures can be trademarks. For example Facebook’s Application No. 85020073 covers a depiction of a thumbs up gesture followed with the word “LIKE” in a rectangle...more

Intellectual Property Newsletter - November 2016

Patent Venue at the Supreme Court - If TC Heartland has its way, patent venue law is about to fundamentally change. Factual Background - Kraft sued TC Heartland, a limited liability company organized...more

USPTO Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Its Right to Deny “Offensive” Trademarks

I previously wrote about a Supreme Court case pitting the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act against the First Amendment, the Federal Circuit, the Slants and, lurking in the...more

Supreme Court to Review Registrability of Disparaging Trademarks

On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States granted a petition for certiorari to consider the constitutionality of a provision of the US trademark laws directed to the registrability of disparaging...more

Trademark Law Update: SCOTUS to Decide Whether Ban on Registering “Disparaging Marks” Is Unconstitutional

Under section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, the Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) may refuse to register any trademark that “[c]onsists of . . . matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or...more

Even Non-Union Employers Must Consider the National Labor Relations Act When Drafting Social Media Policies

While employers should enact social media policies to protect trade secrets and prevent employees from defaming the employer, employers must ensure the policies do not violate the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”). Even...more

What's Happening with the Redskins Case?

For the past few years, the first question us trademark lawyers get asked at cocktail parties is, “What’s going to happen to the REDSKINS trademark?” – and now lawyers and football enthusiasts will have to wait until at least...more

MarkIt to Market® - October 2016

The October 2016 issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to Market® newsletter provides an update on the Redskins trademark case, discusses a recent TTAB ruling regarding ownership of families of marks, and announces the new gTLD...more

Supreme Court to Decide if Disparagement Provision in the Lanham Act is Invalid Under the First Amendment

On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court agreed to review Lee v. Tam, better known as “THE SLANTS” case, to assess the constitutionality of the Trademark Office’s refusal to register disparaging marks under Section 2(a) of...more

New Authentication Lawsuit Filed Against Agnes Martin Catalogue Raisonné

For several years the topic of litigation against appraisers and authenticators has been a controversial issue, causing a number of artists’ foundations and independent professionals to refrain from giving opinions for fear...more

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

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

Lee v Tam

The Supreme Court agreed on September 29 to consider whether a provision of the Lanham Act that allows the USPTO to refuse to register “disparaging” trademarks violates the constitutional right to free speech. The case is...more

Employer Wins $5 Million From Bullying Union

Lessons To Be Learned For Organizing Campaigns - For the first time in American labor law history, a jury found that a union defamed and disparaged an employer while waging a bitter organizing campaign, costing the...more

Supreme Court Rejects Effort By Redskins to Join Slants

The Supreme Court rejected the effort by the Washington Redskins to skip the 4th Circuit and Join the hearing of the USPTO appeal of the SLANTS case....more

Don’t Be Offended: Supreme Court Set to Decide Whether Offensive Trademark Ban Violates First Amendment

The United States Supreme Court, on September 29, 2016, granted certiorari in a case involving petitioner Simon Tam, his band, The Slants, and the band’s attempt to register their band name as a trademark. Commentators...more

Brandmarking - Volume 5, Number 2 - October 2016

Supreme Court Review of “Disparagement” Trademark Case May – or May Not – Implicate First Amendment, Impact Washington Redskins Case - The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear one of two high-profile cases that...more

Supreme Court Benches Dan Snyder’s Team

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Mr. Simon Tam’s arguments and review the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s majority decision striking as unconstitutional Lanham Act Section 2(a)’s bar against the...more

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Redskins’ Petition to Join SLANTS Case

Further to our post last Friday on the SLANTS trademark case, the U.S. Supreme Court today, without comment, refused the Redskins’ Petition to join the SLANTS case challenging the U.S. Trademark Office’s ban on “offensive”...more

The Slants Set To Rock at the U.S. Supreme Court

Simon Tam and The Slants now have a gig at the biggest judicial venue in the country: The U.S. Supreme Court. On September 29, 2016, the Court decided it will take the case of Lee v. Tam....more

Supreme Court Set to Settle Dispute over Washington Redskins Trademark Registration

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

Supreme Court Update: Order List (9/26/16)

Greetings, Court fans! It's (still) the first Monday in October, which means the Supreme Court (and the Update) are back in action. Actually, The Eight dug in a bit last week, issuing cert grants from their September...more

Supreme Court Grants Cert. in USPTO Appeal of Slants Decision: Whether The Ban On Offensive Trademarks Violates The First...

The Supreme Court granted the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s petition for certiorari in In re Tam, 117 USPQ2d 1101 (Fed. Cir. 2016). In that case, the USPTO denied registration of an application to register the...more

The SLANTS Trademark Will Play One More Gig: U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Constitutionality of Ban on Disparaging Trademarks

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will review whether the U.S. Trademark Office can deny registration of offensive trademarks or whether such prohibition violates the First Amendment. The dispute affects the...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

Will anyone be offended if the Supreme Court finds the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act invalid?

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it has granted certiorari in Lee v. Tam, a case closely followed by trademark law gurus. Lee is before the Court after the United States Court of Appeals for...more

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