Well, that happened! According to the Supreme Court’s opinion in Matal v. Tam, Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which purports to prohibit the registration of marks that “disparage . . . persons,” is unconstitutional. When we first started blogging on this topic, here, we noted that certain stars were aligning for a constitutional showdown. … More
Tag Archives: The Slants
2016 is now in the rear view mirror. At the beginning of a new year, we often take a moment to reflect on the past year, while setting goals for the present. It’s a time to say, “Last year had its ups and downs, but this year I’m going to . . .” There are so many choices; what will 2017 hold? Between this article’s two authors,… More
This week saw developments in the two cases challenging the application of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act to their registration: In re Tam and Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc.
In re Tam
As part of our continuing monitoring of this issue (see articles here, here and here), we bring you the latest chapter in the saga over the registration of THE SLANTS trademark. After the en banc Federal Circuit struck down Section 2(a) as facially unconstitutional, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, rather than withdrawing the objection to the registration,… More
In September, we discussed In re Tam and the potential for a showdown over the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. At that time, a panel of the Federal Circuit had recently upheld the PTO’s refusal to register the mark THE SLANTS for a music group, finding that the name was disparaging to persons of Asian descent. … More
Are we heading for a constitutional showdown over Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act? Will the Supreme Court strike down this prohibition on disparaging marks as an abridgement of First Amendment rights? It is certainly beginning to look like a distinct possibility. Two developments lead me to this conclusion.
Disparaging Marks and Spending Power
The first development arises from two trademark cases that are now on appeal,… More