First Amendment Free Speech

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech... more +
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech or the press, preventing citizens from peacefully assembling, or interfering with citizens' ability to petition the government for redress of their grievances. The First Amendment is one of the most sacred aspects of the American legal tradition and has spawned a vast body of jurisprudence and commentary. less -
News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

Arizona Court of Appeals Recognizes Right of Publicity While Protecting Free Speech in Precedent Setting Case

For the first time ever, an Arizona state court has recognized that individuals enjoy a right of publicity that protects them from the unauthorized use of their name or likeness for commercial or trade purposes. In its April...more

What’s in a Like?

In the pre-Facebook era, the word “like” was primarily a verb (and an interjection sprinkled throughout valley girls’ conversations). Although you could have likes and dislikes in the sense of preferences, you could not give...more

Internet Free-Speech and the Push Towards Unmasking Online Anonymity

Internet heavyweights including Google, Facebook, and Twitter are backing the popular business review site Yelp in a Virginia Supreme Court case that has gained country-wide attention as having the potential to significantly...more

Whistleblower Liability: Two Recent U.S. Supreme Court Rulings Could Have Major Implications for Employers

The United States Supreme Court’s 2013-14 docket featured a number of labor and employment law decisions warranting employers’ attention. Media headlines focused mostly on cases dealing with employers’ religious beliefs and...more

NFL Films Ruling Blurs Right of Publicity

Earlier this year the Seventh Circuit stated that “there is no judicial consensus on how to resolve conflicts between intellectual-property rights and free-speech rights.” Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 743 F.3d 509, 514...more

Fines For Less-Than-Flattering Reviews?

Last month, a New York hotel, the Union Street Guest House ("hotel"), learned a valuable lesson in online etiquette and the power of personal reviews. The hotel inserted a clause into its wedding guest contracts that informed...more

Supreme Court To Hear Sign-Ordinance Case

On July 1, 2014, the Supreme Court granted cert in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, a case in which the Ninth Circuit upheld the Town of Gilbert’s sign ordinance against a First-Amendment challenge. The case could directly impact...more

Dispelling Employment Myths Series – Issue 4: My Opinion Got Me Fired

Ever play the game telephone? It’s a game in which one person whispers something into the ear of the next person, and that person is supposed to whisper the same thing into the ear of the next person, and so on. When the...more

SEC Petitions for Rehearing of First Amendment Issues in Conflict Minerals Case

On May 29, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for a rehearing of the First Amendment issues in the conflict minerals case. The SEC, however,...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Spring 2014

Right of Publicity? First, Let Me Take a Selfie - “Oh, he wants to do a selfie,” President Barack Obama observed with amusement before gamely posing with Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. Ortiz snapped the...more

Cussing Out The Boss May Be Protected

During a meeting about commissions and minimum wage and about his own and other sales peoples’ breaks, an employee lost his temper. In a raised voice he called his supervisors names, including “f***ing mother f***ing,”...more

U.S. House Approves Law Targeting Sex Trafficking Ads, Threatens to Undermine Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

On May 20, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2014 (“SAVE Act”). If enacted, the bill would expose websites and other media to federal criminal penalties for...more

Pejorative Statements by Former Patient are not Defamatory, but Protected Opinion

It is fair to say that doctors trade on their reputations more so than most other professionals. When one relies on the doctor to ensure his or her health, and occasionally save a life, the import of such a choice often...more

Managing Your Media: A Practical Primer on Operating Public Entity Social Media Pages

You have heard it before and will hear it again: Social media has revolutionized the way the world communicates. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and others are here to stay. Social media pages are the newest and best...more

Employee Fired For Getting Divorce Cannot Raise Claim Against Former Religious Employer

As I noted in my last blog post, the First Amendment does much more than give a person the right to the freedom of speech. For example, the First Amendment contains the Religion Clauses, one of which allows religious...more

“River Crabbing” Chinese Search Engine Battles for Freedom of Expression in the U.S.

In 2004, the Chinese Communist Party announced a new national goal of building a “Harmonious Society.” Since then, this goal has often been cited by the Chinese government as a reason for Internet censorship. In Mandarin,...more

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