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etvfutures.com June 23, 2017


US Supreme Court: Government can't refuse offensive trademarks

20 June 2017, 12:35 | Guillermo Sutton

Afghan men pray outside the Polle-e Kheshte mosque during Friday prayers in Kabul

Afghan men pray outside the Polle-e Kheshte mosque during Friday prayers in Kabul

Redskins owner Dan Snyder said he was "thrilled" with the Supreme Court's ruling, and team attorney Lisa Blatt said the court's decision effectively resolves the Redskins' longstanding dispute with the government. "Contrary to the Government's contention, trademarks are private, not government speech", Justice Samuel Alito writes in the opinion.

The ruling won't put an immediate end to the football team's case.

"After an excruciating legal battle that has spanned almost eight years, we're beyond humbled and thrilled to have won this case at the Supreme Court", Tam wrote Monday.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a lower court's ruling that barred private citizens from suing OH for allegedly impeding their ability to vote by requiring ballot forms to be filled out perfectly.

"The Supreme Court has vindicated First Amendment rights not only for our The Slants, but all Americans who are fighting against paternal government policies that ultimately lead to viewpoint discrimination".

The Redskins made similar arguments after the trademark office canceled the team's trademark in 2015.

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Critics of the law said the trademark office has been wildly inconsistent over the years in deciding what terms are too offensive to warrant trademark protection. Shortly after that, the Tam case was headed to the Supreme Court, and Washington appealed for their own Supreme Court hearing, ahead of any decision by the Fourth Circuit. It is widely believed that the court's decision to strike down the ban will provide the Washington Redskins with a crucial boon in their struggle to keep the team's name. It's an aggravating win for a team that most certainly hasn't engendered any goodwill, but it's a clear victory for the First Amendment nonetheless.

The court ruled that the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act, which blocked offensive marks, was in fact discriminatory itself. The case has been on hold pending the result of The Slants case. Snyder issued a quick response to the decision on Monday: "I am THRILLED. Hail to the Redskins".

"Music is the best way we know how to drive social change: it overcomes social barriers in a way that mob-mentality and fear-based political rhetoric never can", according to the band's statement.

The 1946 Lanham Trademark Act prohibits the registration of a trademark that "may disparage" a person, community, or institution. It would simply remove any federal protection for it, opening the team up to legal uncertainty and potential financial losses should they keep it.

Fundamentally, this somewhat unusual case brought by an Asian-American electronic-rock band shows that government can't make you choose among your rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a law forbidding registration of offensive trademarks was unconstitutional on Monday.



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