Among those who opposed the Slants in the Supreme Court is the group of Native American who won cancellation of the Redskins football team trademark in a 2014 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, on the grounds that the name is disparaging of Native Americans.
In affirming a lower court ruling, the Supreme Court said the disparagement clause in the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment's protections of free speech. The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) denied the band's request for a trademark, finding their name could offend Asians. A federal appeals court in Washington later said the law barring offensive trademarks is unconstitutional; the prior administration then appealed, reports USA Today.
"The Supreme Court has held that Congress can not keep disparaging trademarks out of the federal registration program", they said, "but the Court did nothing to cast doubt on the prior judicial findings that the Washington NFL team's name and trademarks disparage Native Americans". The Redskins are now appealing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th circuit in Richmond and believe the Supreme Court decision Monday will allow them to prevail, too.
The Court's decision opens the door to a slew of arguably offensive language being trademarked.
In a complex, multipart decision with which all of the justices (except Neil Gorsuch) concurred at least in part, Justice Samuel Alito argued that the government has no business regulating what is and is not considered offensive.
The Lanham Act was enacted in 1946, and is the primary federal trademark statute of law in the United States. "The Supreme Court has vindicated First Amendment rights not only for The Slants, but all Americans who are fighting against paternal government policies that ultimately lead to viewpoint discrimination". Courts had long ruled that it didn't violate the First Amendment because it doesn't actually bar the real-life use of the offending mark, nor does it prevent the owner from enforcing common law trademark rights.
Russian Federation vs. New Zealand 2017 live stream
Russia's win certainly eased the pressure on winning its second game, against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Moscow on Wednesday. Russian Federation deserved its first-half lead after twice having shots stopped on the line in the opening 10 minutes.
It will, however, nearly certainly lead to a reversal of the trademark board's ruling, saving the team's six trademark protections it had canceled.
Trademark office spokesman Paul Fucito said officials are reviewing the court's ruling and planned to issue further guidance on how they will review trademark applications. Leaving the interpretation of what words or phrases do or do not count as "disparagement" up to a government agency clearly had the potential for disaster, and ran the risk of making free speech protection a matter up to the individual tastes and prejudices of a small and random sampling of PTO officers.
The journey to trademark a name that has historically been a racial slur was almost eight years in the making and "excruciating", the band said on Facebook. The same is true for the Redskins, but the team did not want to lose the legal protections that go along with a registered trademark.
The ruling could benefit the NFL's Washington Redskins, whose trademark was canceled based on the same law in a separate proceeding.
The ruling is another major setback for Native Americans who have fought to change the team's name for almost 50 years.