Analysis

Even Before Slants, Offensive TM Ban Always An Awkward Fit

Law360, New York (June 20, 2017, 8:58 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the federal government's ban on offensive trademark registrations in a case involving rock band The Slants highlights just how little the provision fit into the overall confusion-preventing goals of the Lanham Act — and probably doomed similar rules, experts say.

Siding with the band, a unanimous court ruled Monday that the ban — the so-called disparagement clause of the Lanham Act's Section 2a — violated the First Amendment by discriminating against applicants based on speech the government deems offensive. The band's name had previously been rejected as a trademark on the grounds it was...

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