Disparagement

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News of Note in IP

Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team. Here are some of the stories...more

Brandmarking - Volume 5, Number 1 - May 2015

THEY CAN’T REGISTER THAT AS A TRADEMARK -- CAN THEY? Ronda Rousey, the famous Mixed Martial Arts fighter has filed several applications to register a trademark that presumably reflects her feelings about her detractors....more

Retail and Consumer Products Law Roundup - May 2016

SPECIAL FOCUS: California Proposes Emergency Prop 65 Regulation for Products Containing BPA - Why it matters: BPA remains prevalent in the packaging of food and beverage items sold by retailers throughout California....more

Advertising Law - May 2016

Kanye's Promise of Exclusivity a Siren Song, Suit Says - Kanye West's latest drama involves the courtroom—specifically, a putative class action complaint alleging false advertising, unfair competition, and unjust...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

Food and Beverage Law Update: April 2016

Finance - PACA Liens Could Impact Financing Terms - The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) is a federal law enacted in 1930 with the goal of protecting suppliers and sellers of agricultural goods from...more

Washington Redskins’ Hail Mary Pass: Petition SCOTUS to Sack USPTO

INITIAL CALL ON THE FIELD - In June 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) stripped the Washington Redskins (Washington) of their federal trademarks, finding the term “Redskins” was disparaging under Section...more

Washington Football Franchise Calls an Audible, Tries to Score at the Supreme Court

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in Lee v. Simon Shiao Tam, asked the United States Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the United States Federal Circuit, which held that trademark law’s...more

The Slants and the Future of Disparaging Trademarks

Trademark and copyright law are in a constant struggle with the right of free expression guaranteed under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. This is unavoidable. Copyright laws were enacted to protect authors of...more

Pro Football Calls SCOTUS Audible

As we noted here last week, the Director of the USPTO filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that it review the Federal Circuit’s en banc decision, In re Tam. That decision held Section...more

In re Tam Redux: The PTO seeks Certiorari

On April 20, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Federal Circuit seeking Supreme Court review of that Court’s decision in In re Tam, 117 USPQ2d 1001...more

USPTO to SCOTUS: SOS on the Lanham Act ASAP

On April 20, 2016, the USPTO made it official: It formally requested the U.S. Supreme Court to review the en banc Federal Circuit decision that held Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violated the First Amendment. At issue...more

Supreme Court Battle Set Over Prohibition of Disparaging Trademarks

Section 2(a) of the Lanham act bars the registration of “scandalous, immoral or disparaging trademarks.” The USPTO has used this applied this provision to refuse the registration of marks such as F**K PROJECT, PORNO JESUS,...more

The USPTO Says “Yes” But the TTB Says “No” To LSD

Government approval of commercial speech has been a hot topic of discussion by trademark nerds here and elsewhere in light of recent decisions regarding the Redskins and The Slants marks. As those decisions proceed up...more

In re Tam: Still No Trademark Registration for The Slants

In the continuing saga of whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment, the rock band The Slants will have to wait a little longer before it knows whether it can register...more

The Slants’ Trademark Application Remains in Purgatory as Federal Circuit Passes on Pushing PTO to Publish

Late last year, Simon Tam and his legal team scored a big-time victory: they convinced the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (sitting en banc) that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violated the First Amendment. The Court...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: No Relief For Trademark Applicant Until Supreme Court Weighs In

As part of our continuing monitoring of this issue, we bring you the latest chapter in the saga over the registration of THE SLANTS trademark. After the en banc Federal Circuit struck down Section 2(a) as facially...more

Freedom of Speech Protects “Disparaging” Marks, Federal Circuit Holds

In a recent landmark ruling, the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, held that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act’s ban on “disparaging” marks violates the First Amendment. Section 2(a) provides that no trademark shall be refused...more

Employment Law - March 2016 #3

New EEOC Suits: Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Violates Title VII - Why it matters - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a pair of landmark lawsuits alleging sex discrimination based...more

Texas Court Holds That Law Firm is Immune From Liability to Claims by Non-Client

Highland Capital Management, LP v. Looper Reed & McGraw, P.C., 2016 WL 164528 (Tex. App. Jan. 14, 2016) Brief Summary - The Texas Court of Appeals held that the doctrine of attorney immunity barred an employer's...more

Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Federal Circuit Court’s Slants Decision vs. Lanham Act Section 2(a) re: Disparaging...

We recently wrote about In re Tam, the Federal Circuit Court’s decision invalidating Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. The Court held that Section 2(a), which precludes trademark registration of immoral, deceptive, scandalous...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

USPTO To Suspend New Trademark Applications Containing Scandalous Or Disparaging Material

On March 10, 2016, The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) issued new examination guidance for trademark applications containing potentially immoral or scandalous matter, which is expressly prohibited by...more

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