In an 8-0 ruling by the Supreme Court has stuck down a clause in the US Trademark law citing that the Federal Government cannot refuse to grant protections to trademarks that some consider offensive.
The clause cites that a Trademark cannot be granted on a mark that may disparage people or bring them into contempt or disgrace.
The overriding opinion is that the disparagement clause violates the First Amendment’s free speech clause. Trademarks are private, not government speech.
The Court sided with the group, “The Slants” an Asian-American musical group who applied for a Trademark in 2011 and was rejected citing the previously mentioned reason.
The decision is a victory of sorts for the group as the group’s name was an attempt to reverse the perception of a slur of an ethnic group and use the name as a badge of pride.
In Washington, DC there is now renewed optimism from NFL Redskin owner, Daniel Snyder whose Washington Redskins trademark was cancelled in June 2014.
With this ruling it could surely will bring on an avalanche of applications for trademarks of the most vile and offensive names for registration or will they??
Only time will tell, we’ll see….