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United States Supreme Court weighs in on offensive trademarks and 1st amendment

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Trademark and first amendment at issue - Matal v. Tam

In this exciting episode of Vondran Legal Hour, Attorney Steve discusses the recent United States Supreme Court case which rules that the Lanham Act "disparagement clause" is unconstitional as to the First Amendment right of free speech in regard to an asian band called "the slants" who wanted to register the trademark and try to change views as to the negative sterotypes.

The USPTO denied the registration of the mark and so did the TTAB.  The case then moved to the Federal Courts which found for the applicant finding the trademark to be registerable and the right of free speech to be the primary source (government has no right to engage in viewpoint censorship).  This same type of discretion goes on when driver's license plates are reviewed for content and sometimes denied on graounds that the speech is hateful, offensive, slanderous or dispaging to racial and ethnic moniorities.

Wil this prompt a new slew of filings of what some may see as Offensive or Derogatory trademarks?  Time will tell.  Will this have any impact on the Washington Redskins trademark denial.


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