Supreme Court Updates: Trademarking “Disparaging” Terms

The Slants, an Asian-American rock band, have the right to trademark their name – even though it may be considered disparaging and offensive – according to a recent Supreme Court ruling.

After the US Patent and Trademark Office refused to register the band’s name based on past legal interpretations barring trademarks of disparaging terms, the band’s frontman, Simon Tam, filed suit.  In agreeing with Tam’s position, the Court found that refusing the trademarks violated the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause.

While The Slants view their name as a way of reclaiming a term that has often been used as a slur for Asians, other groups – notably the Washington Redskins Football Team who had their trademark registration cancelled in 2014 at the request of some Native Americans who found the team name to be insulting – have also been waiting to see how the case would play out.

CLICK HERE to read the Court’s entire opinion.

CLICK HERE to read The Slants’ Statement on Recent SCOTUS Ruling.

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