SCOTUS strikes down part of law banning offensive trademarks

 

On Monday the Supreme Court struck down part of a law that bans offensive trademarks, stating in a unanimous decision that the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms in fact violates free speech rights. The ruling came in favor of an Asian-American rock band which calls itself "the Slants," whose founder Simon Tam tried to trademark the name in 2011, only to have the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office deny the request on grounds that it disparages Asians. The recent ruling also gives a major boost to organizations such as the Washington Redskins, in their legal fight over use of the racially insensitive team name. According to Justice Samuel Alito in his opinion for the court: "Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend."

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