Free Speech

News & Analysis as of

Texas Specialty License Plates Ruled to be Government Speech by U.S. Supreme Court

No First Amendment Violation - The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, determined that specialty license plates issued per Texas’s statutory scheme convey government speech. As such, the Texas Department of Motor...more

Entertainment and Media Litigation Update

Garcia v. Google: “Doubtful” Copyright Ownership Claim in Film Performance Does Not Outweigh First Amendment Right to Free Speech - Why it matters: In a closely watched case that tests the limits of copyright protection,...more

Supreme Court Decides Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

On June 18, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, No. 14-144, holding that a State’s specialty vehicle license plates constitute government speech, so a State that allows...more

In re Tam – Federal Circuit Orders En Banc Review of Trademark Act’s Ban Against Registration of Disparaging Marks

The Slants is a Portland-based band composed of musicians of Asian-American descent who characterize their genre as “Chinatown Dance Rock.” The band’s bassist, Simon Tam, filed a trademark application for THE SLANTS for...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

Trademark Review | May 2015

Attorneys’ Fees Might be More Readily Granted in Trademark Cases - Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court relaxed the standard for awarding attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in patent infringement cases. Octane...more

State Supreme Court Strikes Down Washington’s Anti-SLAPP Statute

The Washington Supreme Court this morning invalidated the state's broad anti-SLAPP statute, holding in a unanimous opinion that the law violates the constitutional right to a jury trial. The decision strikes the statute in...more

The First Amendment Trumps Trademark Rights in Radiance Found, Inc. v. NAACP

When a pro-life columnist publicized a biting article criticizing the NAACP’s stance on abortion rights, the NAACP retaliated with a cease and desist letter accusing the columnist of trademark infringement. When the dust...more

7 Important Considerations for European Hotlines

As any organization that operates internationally knows, there are varying levels of data protection that are implemented from country to country. The idea is to share data in a manner that also protects personal privacy and...more

Rights in Bob Marley's name and likeness trump free speech where defence not properly pleaded | World Trademark Review

Fifty-Six Hope Road is a company run by some of Bob Marley's children, and it owns the property rights to Bob Marley's name, voice and likeness. Hope Road licensed Zion Rootswear the exclusive right to use Marley's name and...more

Illinois Federal Court Addresses Lawsuit by Christian Leafletter on Public School Property

In a recent decision in the Northern District of Illinois, a trial court granted summary judgment in favor of a school district in a lawsuit stemming from the arrest of a local resident who was leafleting and proselytizing...more

A Scandalous Mark to Some, Free Speech to Others: Federal Circuit to Decide Whether Controversial Limit on Trademark Registrations...

The Federal Circuit has decided to revisit the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act in the case of In re Shiao Tam, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6840 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 27, 2015). Section 2(a) of the Lanham act allows the...more

Tinker, Take Two

Two legendary figures in the ongoing fight for student free speech rights are asking the Supreme Court to revisit this thorny area of First Amendment jurisprudence. John and Mary Beth Tinker were petitioners forty-six years...more

DWT Asked To Serve As Legal Counsel for Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project

Constitution Day 2013 was a pretty bad day for the Constitution on our public university campuses. That was the day that Robert Van Tuinen of Modesto Junior College in California was prevented from passing out copies of the...more

Not following instructions will still get you fired, even when you engage in protected activity

In Meyers v. Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld judgment for the employer even though the plaintiff had engaged in legally protected activity because she disregarded her...more

Two California State Law Claims Are Dismissed With Prejudice

Sleet, J. Defendant’s motion to strike counts 9 and 10 under California’s Anti-SLAPP Stature is granted with prejudice. Defendant’s motion to dismiss counts 9-11 is denied in part and granted in part. Plaintiff’s motion to...more

What’s Your Workplace Retaliation IQ?

It’s been a while since we’ve had an employment law quiz, so let’s do it! This one is on retaliation. As always, the answers will be provided after each question — you have our “no-pressure” guarantee....more

Bob Latham Speaks: Satire and Democracy

In the past two months, the role of satire in a free society has been front and center, once for tragic reasons and several times for sentimental reasons. The horrifying and outrageous murders at the Charlie Hebdo offices in...more

SEE YOU IN COURT! - March 2015 CABE Journal

The Residents Against New Taxes (RANT) launched a new high tech online campaign this year to recruit new members in Nutmeg. RANT members attend every meeting of the Nutmeg Board of Education, and in large numbers they sign...more

A Mixed Cause of Action with Protected and Non-Protected Activity Not Subject to Anti-SLAPP Motion

In Baral v. Schnitt (filed 2/5/2015, No. B253620), the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, held that California’s anti-SLAPP statute does not authorize the striking of allegations of protected activity in a...more

Employee Gripe Apps: Should Companies Be Concerned?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Lindsay Gellman on a new app by Collectively that allows users to post anonymous reviews of and complaints about their employers. The app is cheekily called...more

The High Court Hears Argument: Is Gilbert’s Sign Ordinance Content-Neutral? What Standard of Review Should Apply?

Last summer, we reported that the U.S. Supreme Court granted Good News Community Church’s (Church) petition for a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Reed v. Town of...more

Sports, Media and Entertainment Intelligence - January 2015 (Global)

UK: World Anti-Doping Agency announce collaboration with Pfizer - On 3 December 2014, the World Anti-Doping Agency announced a global collaboration agreement with American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc, aimed at...more

Dot Sucks: A Battle Between Trademark Rights and Free speech

When the organization responsible for assigning domain names announced several years ago that it would expand the generic top level domain name system from the previous 21 to an unlimited number, brand owners knew their legal...more

Sony vs. N. Korea – Let Capitalism Fight Totalitarianism!

Cyber terrorism, North Korea, Sony, extortion, free speech, The Interview, international relations, journalistic ethics, cyber security… can it get any better than this?...more

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