After the government rejected The Slants request, band frontman Simon Tam appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which in 2015 ruled that the so-called disparagement provision of the 1946 law governing trademarks ran afoul of the Constitution's guarantee of free speech. Legally speaking, the court views it as free speech, protected by the First Amendment, Graber said, and he wouldn't be surprised to see some people try to take advantage.
The court's ruling in an unrelated case struck down part of the trademark law that bars a trademark on disparaging or offensive terms. He had expected the Supreme Court to offer a more narrowly tailored opinion, but he views the ruling as consistent with the justices' previous stances on free speech.
As the court's concurring opinion noted, basing the trademark prohibition on the presumed reactions of an offended group doesn't help - "a speech burden based on audience reactions is simply government hostility and intervention in a different guise". "Now the Supreme Court says you can register offensive names".
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The case of Matal v. Tam came to the attention the Supreme Court when a band called "The Slants" was unable to trademark its name because it was considered offensive. It was dedicated, Tam said, to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Attorneys for the latest group of opponents said Monday that they were "disappointed with Supreme Court's ruling" in the Tam case.
The Redskins organization While many has been under attack as cultural insensitive but the team has resolved to keep the name and imagery.
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The trademark office for years raised no concerns about the name of the Washington Redskins NFL team, registering the name in 1967, 1974, 1978 and 1990. The group conceded the decision means the Washington Redskins' trademark registration will not be cancelled.
The government is not required to maintain viewpoint neutrality on its own speech. But just as the Indians receive blowback for Chief Wahoo and schools like the University of North Dakota, Miami of OH and others moved away from Native American mascots, public opinion won't simply sway one direction because of the Supreme Court's decision. The next place for this argument very well may be the team's effort to get a new stadium, and Carter said politicians could use it as a part of the negotiation if taxpayer money is involved. Nine of 10 American Indians have no problem with the use of the term "Redskins" as a sports mascot, according to a poll previous year conducted by the Washington Post.
Another section of the brief, focused on the USPTO's contention that registered trademarks constitute government speech, also mentioned the Sex Pistols and Steely Dan (named after a dildo in William Burroughs's Naked Lunch).
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