News & Analysis as of

Trademarks Supreme Court of the United States

A Trademark is a legally registered distinctive mark or sign which identifies goods, products or services that originate or are associated with a particular person or enterprise . A typical example of a trademark... more +
A Trademark is a legally registered distinctive mark or sign which identifies goods, products or services that originate or are associated with a particular person or enterprise . A typical example of a trademark would be a company's logo such as the Nike "Check" or McDonald's "Golden Arches."  less -

Scandalous and Immoral Trademarks Awarded First Amendment Protection

by Bracewell LLP on

On December 15, the Federal Circuit held that the prohibition on the registration of scandalous and immoral trademarks is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment. In re Brunetti, No. 2015-1109, 2017 WL...more

How Scandalous! Federal Circuit Holds Vulgar Trademarks Are Registrable

by Jones Day on

Trademarks will no longer be refused registration on the basis that they constitute immoral or scandalous matter. On December 15, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimously ruled in In re Brunetti...more

B&B Hardware Precludes Defense To Likelihood Of Confusion In District Court

In 2015, the Supreme Court, in its decision in B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc. (“B&B”), held that sometimes issue preclusion should apply to prior Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) decisions. 135 S. Ct....more

Federal Circuit Holds “Scandalous and Immoral” Ban Unconstitutional

by Snell & Wilmer on

Last Friday, in In re Brunetti, the Federal Circuit held that the ban on “scandalous and immoral” trademarks under 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a) is unconstitutional. The decision follows the June 19, 2017, Supreme Court decision, Matal...more

Yellow is Not Gold for Cheerios™, and Other Tales of Color Trademarks

by Baker Donelson on

Close your eyes and transport yourself to the cereal aisle of your grocery store: can you picture the design of a box of original Cheerios™, color and all? General Mills recently tried, and failed, to obtain a federal...more

Business Litigation Report - November 2017

The Un-Crisis Crisis Law and Strategy Group - No Two Situations Are Alike—That’s the Challenge “How fast can you get to…” “Let’s see. I just got back from London. We’ll be there tomorrow.” As our founder John Quinn...more

Supreme Court Rejects Louis Vuitton’s Request for Appeal Against Parody Tote Bag Company

by Robins Kaplan LLP on

Louis Vuitton is no stranger to the court. For years, the luxury fashion label, headed by creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière, has battled high-profile cases over parody bags. Those cases have involved dog toys, Super Bowl...more

Supreme Court Corner Q3 2017

by DLA Piper on

MATAL V. TAM - Simon Shiao Tam leads a dance-rock band and sought to trademark the band's name: The Slants. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) upheld the PTO's decision not to register the mark under § 2(a),...more

Are Offensive Trademark Registrations On The Rise?

by Fox Rothschild LLP on

In direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down the constitutionality of section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which as enacted barred the registration of disparaging trademarks, there is reason to believe...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

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

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

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

Federal Trademark Registration, the First Amendment, and Freedom of Speech: Part I

Looking forward to sharing the podium with Joel MacMull of the Archer firm (counsel for Simon Tam, where our friend Ron Coleman is a partner) to discuss “Trademark Registration and the First Amendment,” on September 28th at...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

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

MoFo IP Newsletter - July 2017

by Morrison & Foerster LLP on

Supreme Court Hits Reset on Patent Venue Law in TC Heartland - In the recent TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC decision, the Supreme Court reversed nearly thirty years of patent venue law and held that a...more

Intellectual Property Law - July 2017

SCOTUS: For Patent Venue, Domestic Corporations ‘Reside’ Where Incorporated - Why it matters: On May 22, 2017, the Supreme Court issued its decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC—rejecting...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

Three Questions from the Supreme Court’s Decision on “Offensive” Trademarks

by Dickinson Wright on

Last week the Supreme Court ruled that the Trademark Office may not refuse federal registration to a trademark merely because the mark is “disparaging.” The decision has attracted a lot of media attention, much of it...more

Band Trademark Can Rock On: Lanham Act Disparagement Clause Unconstitutional

by McDermott Will & Emery on

In an 8–0 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed an en banc panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and found the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act to be facially unconstitutional...more

Supreme Court Rules Trademarks are Protected by First Amendment's Free Speech Clause

by Best Best & Krieger LLP on

Trademarks do not constitute government speech, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled. Instead, trademarks qualify as speech protected by the First Amendment Free Speech Clause. As a result, the government cannot reject a...more

Offensive Trademarks Are Protected Free Speech Under The First Amendment

by Weintraub Tobin on

Simon Tam is the lead singer of the rock group call “The Slants’, which is composed of Asian-Americans. Tam applied for federal trademark registration of the band’s name. While the term “slants” is a derogatory term for...more

Bring on the Bad Word Brands? What the Supreme Court's Decision in Matal v. Tam Means for Trademark Owners

The Supreme Court’s June 19, 2017 decision in the Matal v. Tam case has been burning-up the news wires all week. The decision struck down a 70-year-old ban on federally registering disparaging trademarks, finding that the...more

Matal v. Tam: Supreme Court Rules USPTO Prohibition of Offensive Marks Based On Disparagement Clause Is Unconstitutional Under...

Historically, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has refused to register trademarks considered to be offensive in that they disparaged a particular person, group or institution. Now the PTO cannot deny the...more

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