The First Amendment and Trademarks: Protecting “The Thought We Hate”

Can the federal government refuse to register offensive trademarks?  The Supreme Court held yesterday that it cannot.  Although the case did not directly involve the “Washington Redskins” trademark registration, discussed in previous blog articles in this space, it effectively gave the Redskins a victory

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in Lee v. Simon Shiao Tam, asked the United States Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the United States Federal Circuit, which held that trademark law’s ban on “disparaging” trademark registrations violates the First Amendment.  On December 22, 2015, we discussed the underlying decision

On July 15, 2015, we discussed the decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse, et al.  In Pro-Football, the District Court affirmed a decision by the United States Patent and Trademark Office directing the cancellation of six “REDSKINS” trademark registrations owned by the

On June 24, 2014, we discussed the decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office that granted a petition for cancellation of six “REDSKINS” trademark registrations owned by the Washington Redskins NFL team. The owner of the marks, Pro-Football, Inc. or “PFI”, appealed the decision to the United States District Court for the Eastern

On June 18, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a petition for cancellation of six “REDSKINS” trademark registrations owned by the Washington Redskins NFL team.  The registrations were issued between 1967 and 1990.  In a 2-to-1 divided decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board concluded that the trademarks were disparaging to a