Federal Circuit holds Unconstitutional Trademark anti-Disparagement Requirement
In a groundbreaking decision, Judge Moore of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit invalidated on Constitutional grounds the requirement that registered trademarks not disparage a person or group of people. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office had rejected on disparagement grounds applicant Simon Shiao Tam’s proposed mark THE SLANTS for entertainment in the form of a musical band. In a divided opinion supported by eight friend of the court briefs, she ruled that barring any “legitimate government interest,” the First Amendment “protects even hurtful speech.” Huge implications for the WASHINGTON REDSKINS, STOP THE ISLAMISATION OF AMERICA and other marks shot down on disparagement grounds. Will the government appeal?