News analysis: A new slant on trademark law

15-02-2017

News analysis: A new slant on trademark law

Christopher Halloran / iStockphoto

Rock band The Slants are waiting for the US Supreme Court to confirm whether a trademark for their name should be granted, in a case that could shape trademark law and practice for years to come. WIPR reports.

You had probably never heard of The Slants until their legal battle with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The Asian-American band, more famous for doggedly pursuing a trademark than making music, are waiting for the US Supreme Court to rule on their case. After several setbacks, the band claimed victory in late 2016 as the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the disparagement provision of section 2(a) of the Lanham Act unconstitutionally restricts free speech.

The USPTO and its Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) had earlier denied the application for ‘The Slants’ because they found the mark to disparage Asians. Now the highest court will decide whether the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.


The Slants, US Supreme Court, trademark, trademark infringement, USPTO, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Neal Gerber & Eisenberg, Washington Redskins,

WIPR