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

City Ordinance Banning New Outdoor Billboards, but Authorizing Relocated Ones, Upheld by California Court

Authorizing Relocated Ones Upheld by Court; Constitutional Challenges Rejected; Injunction Order to Remove Billboard Affirmed - The City of Corona has prevailed in a constitutional challenge to its enforcement of a...more

2015: A Year-End Review of Litigation Using California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute

Annually, California’s Courts of Appeal and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regularly issue several dozen published opinions interpreting California’s anti-SLAPP statute, Civil Procedure Section 425.16 et seq., and...more

Rehitching the Horse: Oregon Court of Appeals Adjusts the Anti-SLAPP Cart

Although Oregon is in its 15th year of anti-SLAPP litigation under a decidedly robust statute, no Oregon appellate court had ruled on how to decide when Oregon’s anti-SLAPP statute applies until the recent decision in Mullen...more

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

The Washington Supreme Court in May struck down the state’s 2010 anti-SLAPP statute, holding in a unanimous opinion that the law violates the state constitution’s right to a jury trial and is invalid on its face. The...more

D.C. Circuit Rules Anti-SLAPP Law Inapplicable in Federal Court, Highlighting Need for Federal Anti-SLAPP Law

In April, the D.C. Circuit held that the District of Columbia anti-SLAPP statute does not apply in a federal court diversity case because “Federal Rules 12 and 56 answer the same question as the anti-SLAPP Act’s special...more

Is There a “Classic” SLAPP Case?

One of the interesting things about the Doe v. Burke II appeal is the Superior Court’s reasoning that, although the complaint was dismissed under the DC anti-SLAPP statute, no attorneys’ fees were warranted because the case...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

FTC Throws Down the Gauntlet To Information Providers and Users

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started the New Year by throwing down the gauntlet to organizations that sell, buy or otherwise provide or use “Big Data” analytics, particularly including employers, creditors, landlords,...more

The Door Is Open To Disparaging Trademarks

Federal Circuit Rules § 2(A) of tThe Lanham Act Unconstitutional - Refusal to Register Disparaging Marks Held Unconstitutional - On December 22, 2015, the Federal Circuit in In re Simon Shiao Tam ruled that Section...more

Ninth Circuit Opens the Door to Relaxing Decades-Old Law Restricting Supplier-Paid Advertising in Retail Establishments

In a decision released on January 7, 2016, Retail Digital Network LLC v. Jacob Appelsmith, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned 29-year-old precedent set in Actmedia Inc. v. Stroh, which held that those...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

Supreme Court Signals Skepticism of Public-Sector Union Agency Fees

On January 11, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Frederichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that will decide whether public-sector employees can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of...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

Another Court Imposes a “Public Interest” Requirement for anti-SLAPP motions

After my post on the Vermont Supreme Court’s decision, requiring all motions under Vermont’s anti-SLAPP statute to be based upon speech made in connection with an issue of public interest, a reader sent me a decision from a...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

“May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor” – The Ten Best Prescription Drug/Medical Device Decisions of 2015

The iconic Hunger Games line, “may the odds be ever in your favor” pretty much sums up how we feel about our top ten best decisions of 2015. These are results that put the “happy” in Happy New Year – which we wish all our...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

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

In re Tam en banc decision—Lanham Act 2(a) is unconstitutional

In a highly anticipated decision, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, ruled today that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which bars registration of marks that “disparage” a group of persons,...more

Federal Circuit: Statutory Bar on "Disparaging" Trademark Registrations Violates Free Speech

An en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held that the Lanham Act's prohibition against federal registration of "disparaging" trademarks violates the constitutional right to free speech...more

When They Don’t Have Anything, They’ll Try Anything

The rumblings began shortly after the industry First Amendment victory over the FDA in Amarin Pharma, Inc. v. FDA, ___ F. Supp.3d ___, 2015 WL 4720039 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 7, 2015). A couple of anonymous, obviously plaintiff-side,...more

Lawyer Sues DDTC Over "Public Domain"

A New York City attorney is suing the U.S. State Department over a proposed change to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The change pertains to how the regulations define “public domain,” and, if...more

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