News & Analysis as of

Redskins

A Special Thank You to Suzan Shown Harjo

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the filing of the petition to cancel the R-Word registrations held by Pro-Football, Inc., the NFL franchise playing near the Nation’s capital....more

Gavel to Gavel: Scandalous and immoral (trademarks)

by McAfee & Taft on

Since 1946, federal law has prohibited registration of scandalous, immoral and disparaging trademarks. This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court found the prohibition on disparaging trademarks to be unconstitutional, creating...more

The Washington Redskins Win Their Trademark Battle in Overtime

by Garvey Schubert Barer on

Simon Tam of the Asian rock band, The Slants, probably was not envisioning an 8-year-long legal battle when he chose the group’s name. Slant is known as a racial slur for Asians. Tam hoped to strip the term of its derogatory...more

R-Word Looking Scandalous in Maryland

Daniel Snyder, NFL owners, FEDEX, and other NFL sponsors, take note, breaking news from courageous Neal M. Brown, Ed.D., Head of School, Green Acres School in Bethesda, Maryland, about twenty miles from FEDEX Field...more

In Matal V. Tam, Scotus Rules Prohibition On Disparaging Trademarks Unconstitutional

The Asian American members of the band the Slants adopted that name to “reclaim” and “take ownership” of the derogatory term. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) refused to register a trademark application...more

“Not So Fast,” Mr. THRILLED Daniel Snyder

Lee Corso (former coach and ESPN football analyst) frequently utters this famous sports media catchphrase on ESPN’s “College GameDay” program: “Not so fast, my friend!”...more

What the *TM*?!?! The Disparagement Clause has been Bleeped.

by Knobbe Martens on

Trademark law is an important form of protection for the fashion and beauty industry. It protects both brand owners and consumers by regulating the registration of brands, or source identifiers, of fashion and beauty...more

Advertising Law - July 2017 #3

Twitter Working to Limit Fake Stories, Accounts - In an effort to combat fake accounts, false stories and other abuses, Twitter is considering the use of a new feature to let users flag Tweets that contain misleading,...more

The First Amendment Protects The Trademark Registrability Of THE SLANTS And THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS Irrespective Of Political...

by Weintraub Tobin on

In 2014, the Washington Redskins lost a battle before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) where the petitioner, a group of Native American activists, sought cancellation of the “Washington Redskins” trademark, which...more

Free speech legal battle changes law on disparaging trademarks

by McAfee & Taft on

Last month, in Matal v. Tam, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision that struck down a portion of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act....more

Trademark Act Offends Free Speech

by SmithAmundsen LLC on

The Supreme Court ruled that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) may not deny registration of trademarks on the basis that they are offensive or hateful. As previously discussed, in In re Simon Shiao...more

Supreme Court Holds Disparagement Clause Unconstitutional

by Perkins Coie on

In a much anticipated decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S. ___ (June 19, 2017) that a provision of the Lanham Act banning the registration of marks considered disparaging to “persons, institutions,...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

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

The Slants Win in Matal v. Tam: Trademark Registration Cannot Be Denied for Offensive Terms

by Vedder Price on

On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court held that a portion of the first clause of the U.S. Trademark Law (the “Lanham Act”), which is commonly known as the disparagement clause, was facially unconstitutional under...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

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

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

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

SCOTUS Strikes Down Ban on Disparaging Trademarks

by Reed Smith on

Earlier this week, a unanimous but fractured Supreme Court ruled that a controversial provision in the Lanham Act prohibiting the registration of trademarks that disparage “persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or...more

Matal v. Tam: Trademark Disparagement Clause Held Unconstitutional

by Shearman & Sterling LLP on

Yesterday, the Supreme Court held in an 8–0 decision that the disparagement clause in the Trademark statute—which prohibits the registration of trademarks that may “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contemp[t] or disrepute”...more

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