SCOTUS says 'disparagement' provision in trademark law violates 1st Amendment

Discussion in 'Horn Depot' started by Joe Fan, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Joe Fan

    Joe Fan 10,000+ Posts

    First Amendment survives another challenge

    Matal v. Tam

    In Matal v. Tam, the high court reviewed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's decision to deny a trademark to Asian-American rock band "The Slants," a name deemed offensive by the government. The Supreme Court decided the trademark office's effort to enforce the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act was unconstitutional.

    "We now hold that this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment," wrote Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the high court's opinion. "It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend."

    The Slants' victory at the Supreme Court on Monday could benefit the Washington Redskins football team's effort to win its trademark dispute.

    The Slants' case has served as a proxy war in many ways for the Redskins' case. The Redskins' intention to let the Slants lead block at the high court irked the band and others who simultaneously view the Slants' name as part of a movement to promote Asian-American pride and interpret the Redskins' name as an ethnic slur.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017

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