News & Analysis as of

Free Speech

Supreme Court Rules On Disparaging Trademarks

by Revision Legal on

For decades, the USPTO has denied registration to trademarks that are disparaging and offensive to specific racial or ethnic groups under the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act. The United States Supreme Court recently...more

Law Review Article on Off-label is On Target

by Reed Smith on

More than once we’ve said that we read law review articles so you don’t have to. We separate the wheat from the chaff. The wheat is scarce. That is because law review articles usually drown the little bits of objective...more

If You Have Nothing Nice to Say, Say ®

On June 19, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a provision of the Lanham Act prohibiting federal registration of disparaging trademarks. The Court’s ruling in Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S. ___, No. 15-1298 (June 19,...more

Supreme Court: First Amendment Protects “Disparaging” Trademarks

Since its enactment as the basic federal law on trademarks in 1946, the Lanham Act has prohibited the registration of “derogatory” trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). On June 19, 2017, the...more

Brands that Bite - The Supreme Court unanimously rules that the First Amendment forbids the Trademark Office from refusing to...

By striking down the “disparagement clause,” a 70-year-old provision of federal trademark law, the Supreme Court’s ruling this week in Matal v. Tam has the potential to change the ways in which people conceive, market,...more

Supreme Court Holds Statute Banning Registration of Disparaging Marks Violates the First Amendment

by Brinks Gilson & Lione on

This past Monday, June 19, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Matal v. Tam, No. 15-1293, 582 U.S. ___ (2017). Section...more

Of Slants, Skins, And Signs: Section 2(a) Prohibition of Disparaging Trademark Registrations Struck Down!

Well, that happened! According to the Supreme Court’s opinion in Matal v. Tam, Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which purports to prohibit the registration of marks that “disparage . . . persons,” is unconstitutional. ...more

Disparaging, Degrading, Derogatory Trademarks: They're Now Enforceable Says Supreme Court

by Lewitt Hackman on

You may remember that several national sports franchises are under fire for trademarks and branding that is seen to be racially disparaging. The Washington Redskins are the first team to come to mind, and it wasn’t too long...more

Supreme Court Rules “Disparagement Clause” of the Lanham Act Unconstitutional

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the 70-year-old federal ban on offensive trademarks is unconstitutional. The “disparagement clause” of the Lanham Act prohibits registration of trademarks “which may disparage...more

Siding with The Slants: Ban on Disparaging Marks Held Unconstitutional

by Jones Day on

Asian rock band The Slants is no longer "The Band Who Must Not Be Named," as they titled their most recent album. On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided Matal v. Tam, striking a provision of the Lanham Act,...more

Supreme Court Holds that First Amendment Protects Disparaging Trademarks

by Bass, Berry & Sims PLC on

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court emphasized the importance of broad free speech protection in striking down a statute that allows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to refuse registration of disparaging trademarks....more

The Slants, The Redskins, and Free Speech for All Parties

This week’s Matal v. Tam (formerly Lee v. Tam) Supreme Court ruling serves as a reminder that free speech is a two-way street. It also suggests the value of a sympathetic litigant, at least in terms of public response....more

Your New ®Ight To Disparage – A Look Inside “The Slants” Lanham Act Decision

by McCarter & English, LLP on

The Federal trademark statute’s more-than-60-year prohibition on registering trademarks that may be viewed as disparaging goes out the window with the United States Supreme Court’s recent unanimous decision. The Court ruled...more

Slanting Toward The End Of The Commercial Speech Doctrine

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

Amid the hullabaloo over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week in Matal v. Tam, a much broader and potentially more significant development might be overlooked. It shouldn’t be. The case involved Simon Tam’s band...more

The Past, Present, and Future of Government Regulation of Off-Label Communications – Part 3

This is Part 3 in my series exploring the history of FDA’s regulation of off-label communications, which has become newly relevant in light of the recent events highlighted in Part 1. In this installment, I continue...more

The Supreme Court Holds the Lanham Act’s Disparagement Clause Unconstitutional

by Robins Kaplan LLP on

In a closely watched decision, the eight participating members of the Supreme Court unanimously held that the so-called disparagement clause of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment. The high-profile case of Matan v....more

Supreme Court strikes down Lanham Act's disparagement clause as unconstitutional

by Dentons on

In a landmark decision that will significantly impact those seeking to block or cancel trademarks they consider offensive, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the "disparagement clause" of the federal trademark...more

SCOTUS: Supreme Court Holds Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act Violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment

On June 19, 2017, in Matal v. Tam, previously Lee v. Tam, the Supreme Court handed down its most impactful interpretation of the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act to date by holding that at its intersection with the...more

Supreme Court Holds Entities May Register Disparaging Trademarks

by Morgan Lewis on

The Lanham Act’s restriction on trademarks that disparage persons living or dead violates the First Amendment. Though the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has sometimes reversed its position on whether a...more

Victory for The Slants and Redskins: Supreme Court Okays Offensive Trademarks

This week, the United States Supreme Court settled the issue of whether an offensive name, in this case, an Asian-American rock band called “The Slants,” can properly be registered as a trademark. The Court’s conclusion?...more

SCOTUS and the Slants: Disparagement Proscription of § 2(A) of the Lanham Act Unconstitutional

by McDermott Will & Emery on

A unanimous decision from the Supreme Court of the United States in Matal v. Tam affirmed an en banc panel of the Federal Circuit and found the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act to be facially unconstitutional under the...more

Supreme Court Finds Lanham Act Disparagement Clause Unconstitutional Under First Amendment

by BakerHostetler on

In a victory for the Asian-American rock band The Slants, the Supreme Court ruled on June 19 that the ban on the registration of disparaging trademarks under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment. The...more

“Giving Offense is a Viewpoint”: Supreme Court Holds It Is Viewpoint Discrimination to Deny Trademark Protection for Allegedly...

by Dickinson Wright on

In a decision that is being heralded as a victory for First Amendment freedoms, the United States Supreme Court struck down the so-called disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(a), on the basis that the...more

Supreme Court Rocks the Trademark Office in “Slants” Case

by Fenwick & West LLP on

After a streak of six patent decisions uniformly overruling the Federal Circuit, and for the first time all term, the Supreme Court finally handed the Federal Circuit a win this week. In its landmark ruling in Matal v. Tam...more

Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Disparaging Trademarks

by Fish & Richardson on

The Supreme Court on Monday in Matal v. Tam unanimously struck down part of a 70-year old federal trademark law, holding that it violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. Simon Tam leads a four-person band....more

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