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Mon Jun 19, 2017, 09:39 AM

Supreme Court rules the government can't refuse to register trademarks considered offensive

Last edited Mon Jun 19, 2017, 11:00 AM - Edit history (1)

Source: Politico


By JOSH GERSTEIN 06/19/2017 10:22 AM EDT

The Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional the federal government’s practice of refusing to register trademarks that officials deem to be offensive.

The justices ruled in favor of Simon Tam, the front man for an all-Asian-American rock band known as “The Slants.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had refused to register the name, citing a law that denied trademarks that disparage individuals, institutions, beliefs or national symbols.

The result in the closely-watched case could doom legal challenges to other trademarks many consider offensive, such as that for the Washington Redskins football team.

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Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/19/supreme-court-rules-slants-case-239711



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The Slants Win Supreme Court Battle Over Band's Name In Trademark Dispute

June 19, 201710:29 AM ET

Members of the Asian-American rock band The Slants have the right to call themselves by a disparaging name, the Supreme Court says, in a ruling that could have broad impact on how the First Amendment is applied in other trademark cases.

The Slants' frontman, Simon Tam, filed a lawsuit after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office kept the band from registering its name and rejected its appeal, citing the Lanham Act, which prohibits any trademark that could "disparage ... or bring ... into contempt or disrepute" any "persons, living or dead," as the court states.

After a federal court agreed with Tam and his band, the Patent and Trade Office sued to avoid being compelled to register its name as a trademark. On Monday, the Supreme Court sided with The Slants.

"The disparagement clause violates the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion for the court. Contrary to the Government's contention, trademarks are private, not government speech."

The band has said it wanted to reclaim what is often seen as a slur.

more
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/19/533514196/the-slants-win-supreme-court-battle-over-bands-name-in-trademark-dispute

24 replies, 5042 views

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply Supreme Court rules the government can't refuse to register trademarks considered offensive (Original post)
DonViejo Jun 2017 OP
NobodyHere Jun 2017 #1
HAB911 Jun 2017 #2
Dr Hobbitstein Jun 2017 #8
melm00se Jun 2017 #9
Dr Hobbitstein Jun 2017 #10
TupperHappy Jun 2017 #15
HAB911 Jun 2017 #13
Dr Hobbitstein Jun 2017 #16
melm00se Jun 2017 #3
snooper2 Jun 2017 #4
jonno99 Jun 2017 #11
FLPanhandle Jun 2017 #18
mac56 Jun 2017 #5
Stryst Jun 2017 #6
Calista241 Jun 2017 #7
HAB911 Jun 2017 #14
broadcaster90210 Jun 2017 #12
mahatmakanejeeves Jun 2017 #17
X_Digger Jun 2017 #19
dembotoz Jun 2017 #20
yuiyoshida Jun 2017 #21
Coventina Jun 2017 #22
yuiyoshida Jun 2017 #23
Coventina Jun 2017 #24

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 09:45 AM

1. I'm not really a fan of the government determining what's offensive or not

 

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 09:46 AM

2. Then the only thing left is to hit their pocketbook

boycott

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Response to HAB911 (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 11:24 AM

8. Boycott the US Patent & Trademark Office?

Not sure that's gonna accomplish anything.

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Response to Dr Hobbitstein (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 11:31 AM

9. the Supreme Court too

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Response to melm00se (Reply #9)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 11:33 AM

10. Not sure one can really boycott the Supremes, either... nt

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Response to melm00se (Reply #9)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 01:14 PM

15. It was an 8-0 case (nt)

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Response to Dr Hobbitstein (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 12:49 PM

13. Redskins

duh


AND any other offensive products or services

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Response to HAB911 (Reply #13)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 02:32 PM

16. Oh, well... The article was about The Slants,

An Asian-American music act. I didn't realize you were talking about a football team.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 10:05 AM

3. another 8-0 shutout

"Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend."

everyone needs to keep that quote from this Matal v Tam ruling.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 10:19 AM

4. great decision

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 11:50 AM

11. +1 Agreed. Those who disagree need to remember that free speech goes both ways -

if someone chooses to be offensive, the "offended" also have the right to picket, boycott, deride, etc.

But we don't have the right to 'not be offended' (where would it end?).

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Response to jonno99 (Reply #11)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 02:51 PM

18. +1 we don't have the right to 'not be offended'

People always forget that.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 10:27 AM

5. I hope then that Jon Stewart

trademarks "Fuckface von Clownstick."

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 10:29 AM

6. If you like 80's synthpop, they're pretty good. Kind of like the cure if Robert was on uppers.

Their newest album was called "The band who shall not be named". I saw them live at Sakura-Con a couple of years ago.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 10:55 AM

7. This was the case the Washington Redskins were banking on.

Now they get to keep the name with no recourse from the government. It's up to consumers to not buy their stuff or go to their games.

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Response to Calista241 (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 01:09 PM

14. +++++++++++

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 12:17 PM

12. I agree

The gov't should not police morals and this is a First Amendment issue ad it involves government restriction of speech.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 07:50 PM

19. Good. The government shouldn't be in the business of determining 'offensiveness'. n/t

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 07:55 PM

20. just because they have a trademark does not mean you have to buy the product

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 07:57 PM

21. I am happy for my friends The Slants!

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Response to yuiyoshida (Reply #21)

Wed Jun 21, 2017, 11:11 AM

22. Hi Yui! I've been wondering, ever since I first heard about this case,

if their name was a playful homage to the Slits, the all-girl punk band from the 1970s?

I'm very glad they won their case!!!!

They're a great band!!!

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Response to Coventina (Reply #22)

Wed Jun 21, 2017, 07:10 PM

23. not sure about that...

These guys probably grew up in the 70s and 80s...so its possible but its more likely they chose the name for political reasons..a political experiment I guess. If i find an interview with them I will post it.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Reply #23)

Wed Jun 21, 2017, 08:44 PM

24. Cool! Thanks!!

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