March 08, 2016

What’s In a Name? The Ban on Registering Disparaging Trademarks is Struck Down

Simon Shiao Tam sought to register his band name, THE SLANTS, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) but was denied registration when the PTO found the mark to be disparaging to persons of Asian descent. On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that the Lanham Act provision barring registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. While disparaging marks may offend members of the community, the Federal Circuit held that denying registration to such marks based upon the message they convey simply fails to pass constitutional muster. The decision is not only likely to lead to an increase in trademark applications for offensive and disparaging marks, it also opens the door for others to argue that restrictions against registering “immoral” and “scandalous” trademarks are likewise unconstitutional.

July 26, 2012

IPulse: Don’t Overlook the Importance of Selecting “Strong” (Valuable) Trademarks

Too often, businesses neglect the importance of selecting and protecting “strong” names to identify their products and services.