Supreme Court Strikes Down The Lanham Act’s Bar On Registration Of Disparaging Trademarks
June 21, 2017
On June 21, 2017, the firm published an alert titled “Supreme Court Strikes Down The Lanham Act’s Bar On Registration Of Disparaging Trademarks”.
The Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a 70-year-old provision in the Lanham Act that authorizes the Patent and Trademark Office to reject the federal registration of trademarks that may disparage individuals, groups or institutions. In determining whether Asian American musician Simon Tam could register his band name, “The Slants,” the Court held that the PTO could not deny federal registration simply because a mark was offensive, as this would violate the bedrock First Amendment principle that speech may not be banned on the ground that it offends.