Sunday, December 27, 2015

Government Can't Deny Trademarks Over Offensive Names, Appeals Court Rules; NPR, 12/23/15

Eyder Peralta, NPR; Government Can't Deny Trademarks Over Offensive Names, Appeals Court Rules:
"The court ruled that their name — The Slants — is private speech and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The government, the court writes, has no business trying to regulate it by denying the band a trademark.
At issue in the case was Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which allows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to deny or cancel a trademark if it is "disparaging" of persons, institutions or national symbols.
In a 10-2 decision, the court decided parts of that section were unconstitutional. Conferring a trademark, the court argues, does not make the band's name government speech.
Here's the comparison the majority uses: "The PTO's processing of trademark registrations no more transforms private speech into government speech than when the government issues permits for street parades, copyright registration certificates, or, for that matter, grants medical, hunting, fishing, or drivers licenses, or records property titles, birth certificates, or articles of incorporation.""

1 comment:

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