Disparaging marks: The question of offensiveness

By Brian Focarino

The US Supreme Court’s decision to take up a constitutional challenge to the bar on registering marks that “may disparage” will have far-reaching implications for trademark practitioners, as well as the practice of trademark law

In 2016 the US Supreme Court agreed to review a Federal Circuit ruling which held unconstitutional a law prohibiting the registration of trademarks that “may disparage” people or groups. In a case involving an Asian-American dance band’s bid to register its name, The Slants, as a trademark, the court will consider whether the bar on registering disparaging marks in Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act (15 USC §1052(a)) violates the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. The case is one that trademark professionals should follow closely.

Want to read more?

Register to access two of our subscriber only articles per month

Subscribe for unlimited access to articles, in-depth analysis and research from the World Trademark Review experts

Already registered? Log in

What our customers are saying

World Trademark Review is simply the first resource I will go to for trademark-related information, whether about the latest trademark law development or case news, top trademark practitioners or interesting trademark events.

Jerry F Xia
Deputy general counsel and chief IP counsel – Asia-Pacific, corporate law department
Honeywell

Benefits

Subscribe to World Trademark Review to receive access to the full range of trademark intelligence, insight, and case law, as well as our guides, rankings and daily market insight delivered to your inbox.

Why subscribe?

Close

Register for more free content

  • Read more World Trademark Review blogs and articles
  • Receive the editor's weekly review by email
Register now  
Issue 73