Opening Pandora's Trademark Box Resets Disparagement Bar

Law360, New York (January 29, 2016, 10:43 AM EST) -- Elizabeth H. Cohen

Thorne Maginnis In an opinion of potentially sweeping effect, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently held that a key provision of the Lanham Act was unconstitutional under the First Amendment. In particular, the court's decision in In re Tam struck down a provision requiring the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to refuse registration of any trademark deemed to be "disparaging." The court held that the provision was an unconstitutional "viewpoint-based regulation," authorizing the USPTO to deny registration — and the legal benefits that accompany it — to applicants based upon the expressive content of their trademarks....

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