Disparagement

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IP & Technology Newsletter: Winter 2016

In today’s business world, protecting trade secrets is of vital importance. A trade secret is anything which gives a company a competitive advantage and is kept confidential, including a design, formula, manufacturing...more

Brandmarking: Taylor Swift’s Excellent Brandmarking Adventure - March 2015 - Volume 4, Number 2

Taylor Swift’s Excellent Brandmarking Adventure - Making a splash is more or less what pop stars and other celebrities do for a living. But not many of them do it by applying for federal trademark registrations....more

Intellectual Property 2015 Year In Review

Introduction - As discussed in greater detail below, there were a number of notable developments in intellectual property law in 2015. Patent eligibility challenges to the validity of software, business methods, and...more

Trademark Review | January 2016

Federal Circuit Holds Refusal to Register Disparaging Trademarks is Unconstitutional - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, issued a ruling that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violates the...more

[Webinar] Registration of 'Disparaging' Trademarks After 'The Slants' - January 27, 12:00-1:00pm, EST

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which bars registration of marks that “disparage” a group of people, is an unconstitutional infringement of First Amendment free speech...more

A New Year’s Resolution: Avoid The Rising Tide of Defamation Claims In The Health Care Arena

In college and graduate school, we all had professors that had “non-attribution/academic freedom” policies designed to foster open debate, critical thinking and robust discussion. To state the obvious, we are a long way from...more

In re Simon Shiao Tam - USCA, Federal Circuit, December 22, 2015

In case with potentially far-reaching effects, including on Washington Redskins’ ongoing legal battle to maintain federal trademark registration, Federal Circuit sitting en banc strikes down federal statute that permits...more

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Refusal to Register Disparaging Trademarks Struck Down on First Amendment Grounds

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a 9-3 decision in In re Tam, has declared a provision of the federal trademark law unconstitutional as violating the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. The...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: Another Step Closer to the Showdown

In September, we discussed In re Tam and the potential for a showdown over the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. At that time, a panel of the Federal Circuit had recently upheld the PTO’s refusal to...more

Washington Redskins Haven’t Won Yet: Why the Constitutionality of Section 2(a) is Not Yet Final

What do Washington D.C.’s NFL team, the Redskins, and Mr. Tam’s rock band, The Slants, have in common? Both have enjoyed unexpected victories recently and both have been called “disparaging” by the Patent and Trademark Office...more

The Federal Circuit Breathes Life into the Redskins’ Appeal

If you’re a fan of intellectual property or the National Football League, you may have heard about last July’s ruling in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. There, Judge Gerald Bruce Lee...more

Federal Circuit: Lanham Act “Disparaging” Mark Prohibition Unconstitutional

On December 22nd the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its sua sponte en banc In re Tam decision regarding the constitutionality of the “disparaging” marks bar under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. A Federal...more

Trademark Wars: The First Amendment Strikes Back – Lanham Act’s Disparaging Trademark Registration Ban Struck Down as...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, en banc, has ruled that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act precluding “disparaging” trademark registrations is unconstitutional, rejecting the argument that trademark...more

Alert: Federal Circuit Strikes Ban on "Disparaging" Trademarks

On December 22, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, overturned decades of case law by holding that a statute barring federal registration for trademarks that "may disparage" people,...more

Federal Circuit: Disparagement Proscription of § 2(a) of the Lanham Act Unconstitutional

In the last several decades, the disparagement provision of § 2(a) of the Lanham Act has become a more frequent basis for rejection or cancellation of trademarks by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and...more

Can The Secretary Of State Reject Disparaging Business Entity Names?

Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act bars the Patent and Trademark Office from registering scandalous, immoral, or disparaging marks. 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a). However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sitting...more

Intellectual Property Alert: Tam Trademark Victory May Provide Game Plan for Washington Redskins

Last week, the Federal Circuit held en banc that the disparagement provision of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment. Writing for the majority in In Re Simon Shiao Tam on...more

In re Tam: Section 2(a) Unconstitutional Under The First Amendment

In a landmark First Amendment decision relating to the Lanham (Trademark) Act, the Federal Circuit, en banc, struck down § 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), the statutory provision barring registration of...more

Disparaging Trademarks Afforded First Amendment Protection

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled last week that Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), the provision used as a basis to bar registration of “disparaging” marks, is...more

Federal Court Ruling May Assist D.C. Football Team Win Back Trademark Rights

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a ruling yesterday that could lead to reinstatement of the Washington Redskins trademark registration. The Court declared that the Federal government’s ban on...more

Christmas Comes Early for The Slants (and the Washington Redskins)

On December 22, 2015, in a potentially far-reaching decision, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits registration of disparaging trademarks, is unconstitutional under...more

Federal Circuit Strikes Down Federal Ban on Disparaging Marks as Unconstitutional

In a landmark ruling that departs from decades-old precedent, on December 22, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the Lanham Act’s prohibition of “disparaging marks” violates the First...more

Will USPTO Director Michelle Lee’s Signature Adorn a SLANTS Certificate of Registration?

Let’s hope not, for a variety of reasons. In other words, let’s hope the Supreme Court straightens out the unfortunate ruling last week that the federal government is powerless to deny requests to federally register...more

In re Tam: Section 2(a) Unconstitutional Under The First Amendment

In a landmark First Amendment decision relating to the Lanham (Trademark) Act, the Federal Circuit, en banc, struck down § 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.  § 1052(a), the statutory provision barring registration of...more

Federal Circuit Rules Federal Trademark Statute Ban on Disparaging Marks to Be Unconstitutional

On December 22nd, 2015, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the section of the Lanham Act which bans registration of “disparaging” trademarks is an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment free...more

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