Supreme Court Blocks Bill on Offensive Trademarks

There has been a lot of discussion lately regarding potentially offensive trademarks and whether they should be banned. In fact, a law was introduced to the Supreme Court that would allow the government to refuse trademark names if they could be construed as offensive to a particular group of people. The Supreme Court unanimously struck down the bill, some saying that it was obstructing freedom of speech.

There are a number of different cases instances that the Supreme Court’s ruling had an impact on. For example, the Washington Redskins football team has been trying to obtain a federal trademark to protect their brand, even though the team name has been seen as offensive to the Native American population. The Supreme Court’s ruling details that offensive language is protected under the First Amendment, even if it is offensive.

Another case that was discussed heavily in the ruling is one in which a musical group, The Slants, wanted to trademark their name, which is considered a disparaging term towards the Asian population. However, the band’s intention behind the trademark is to take the term, embrace it, and give it a new positive identity.

If you have questions about federal trademark protections, it is important that you discuss these matters with an experienced intellectual property attorney who can provide you with assistance.

Our firm has over 25 years of experience helping clients through tough times. If you need assistance with any intellectual property, traffic violations, or business law matters, our firm is here to help. It is critical that you pick the right attorney who can protect your rights. Contact The Law Offices of Richard E. Novak, LLC for a consultation.