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Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Communications & Media issues written by leading professionals.

Is the Reproduction of a Branded Product in a Depiction of Real Life an Infringement?

AM General LLC, maker of HUMVEE®-branded vehicles, has sued Activision Blizzard, Inc., Activision Publishing, Inc., and Major League Gaming Corp. in the Southern District of New York for using AM General’s trademarks and...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

Ninth Circuit Construes Family Movie Act and Affirms Injunction Against Streaming Service

by Snell & Wilmer on

In December 2016, a California federal court issued a preliminary injunction against VidAngel, Inc.’s custom-filtered video streaming service. Thursday, in Hollywood Studios v. VidAngel, Inc., a Ninth Circuit panel affirmed...more

More Details on Matal v. Tam: Are Other Parts of The Lanham Act at Risk?

by Revision Legal on

As we recently discussed in June, the US Supreme Court declared the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act unconstitutional as a violation of the free speech clause of the First Amendment. In general, the disparagement clause...more

AD-ttorneys@law

by BakerHostetler on

“Iron Mike” Tyson is a controversial sports figure who seems in equal parts loved and loathed by the public. Celebrated for a genuine world-class talent and derided for his behavior in and out of the ring, Tyson has a public...more

Key SCOTUS Decisions in Tech – First Half 2017

by Fenwick & West LLP on

Despite being short one justice for much of the year, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down multiple significant decisions this past term that can unsettle long-standing legal understandings in multiple technology fields. These...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

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

What’s In a Name?

by Pessin Katz Law, P.A. on

On June 19, 2017, Justice Samuel A. Alito, delivered the unanimous opinion of the United States Supreme Court (the “Court”) in Matal v Tam, No. 15-1293, Oct. Term, 2016, argued January 18, 2017. Simply stated, the Court...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

Three Point Shot - June 2017

by Proskauer Rose LLP on

"12th Man" Suit Forces Aggies to Call an Audible on Traditional Copyright Defenses - Texas A&M University's "12th Man" is at the center of a legal blitz facing the University's Athletic Department. On January 19, 2017,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates Statute Outlawing Disparaging Trademarks

by Akin Gump - Excubitor on

On June 19, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Matal v. Tam that a statute banning registration of disparaging trademarks violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court’s invalidating the statute should...more

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

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

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

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

A Good Day for Free Speech Advocates: Supreme Court Holds Unconstitutional Federal Trademark Law’s Anti-Disparagement Provision

by Snell & Wilmer on

In Matal v. Tam, the United States Supreme Court held unconstitutional, under the First Amendment, the “disparagement clause” of 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), which permits denial of a trademark registration application by the United...more

Supreme Court Strikes Down Statute Banning Disparaging Trademarks

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court in Matal v. Tam unanimously held that a portion of 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), the Lanham Act provision that prohibits the registration of trademarks that may “disparage . . . persons, living or...more

Your trademarks now can (but needn’t) be offensive

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

If you want to — though we don’t encourage it — you can now disparage ethnic groups in your federally registered trademarks. Indeed, the Supreme Court has unanimously given you a constitutional right to select, and obtain...more

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Slants Rock Band

by Womble Bond Dickinson on

On Monday, June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) invalidated a 70-year-old provision of U.S. trademark law that previously barred registration of “offensive” trademarks. The high court held that the federal...more

Upon Further Review: Supreme Court Ruling Means “Redskins” Trademark Registrations Are Still In Play

by Jackson Walker on

This week the U.S. Supreme Court held the “disparagement clause” – a federal trademark provision that prohibits the registration of a trademark “which may disparage” . . . persons, . . . , institutions, . . . beliefs, or...more

The Top Hits: Fashion Cases with a Big Impact

by Knobbe Martens on

Over the last year, there have been some significant trademark and copyright cases in the fashion industry. Below are summaries of recent cases all brand owners should know and understand. These cases touch on important...more

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