EREMIN SERGEY / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
In December, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that trademark laws governing disparagement cannot be used to ban registrations. Will this mean an increase in “culturally insensitive” trademark applications? WIPR investigates.
Artists and activists have historically challenged the accepted views of society. In the US, there is a long history of people daring to provoke the public and government and then finding themselves in the highest courts.
The First Amendment has always provided the legal space for such individuals to say something ‘offensive’ or ‘disagreeable’ without fear of retribution. Disputes concerning just how far free speech rights extend regularly reach the courts in the US and often capture the imagination of the general public. But where does free expression end and disparagement begin?
One of the most recent cases dealing with free speech is In re Tam, which was last ruled on in December 2015 after several earlier decisions. The case focused on whether the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was correct to reject Simon Shiao Tam’s trademark application for ‘The Slants’, the name of his Asian-American rock band.
To continue reading, you need a subscription to WIPR. Start a subscription to WIPR for £455.
In-house feature articles, the archive and expert comment require a paid subscription. Subscribe now.
Want to give it a try? We are offering a two week free trial to the WIPR website – register and select “Free Trial” to begin access to the full WIPR archive and read the latest news, features and expert comment. Begin your free trial here.
Is your 2 week free trial about to end? Upgrade to a 12 month subscription for £455 now.
If you have already subscribed please login.
If you have any technical issues please email tech support.
USPTO, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, US Supreme Court, Lanham Act, trademark,