Federal Court Says Govt. Can’t Censor Trademarks, Could Save Redskins

Blake Neff

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a federal law barring the registration of “offensive” trademarks is an unconstitutional limitation on free speech, a ruling that may pave the way for the Washington Redskins to be able to keep their trademark.

The case before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles U.S. patent and trademark litigation, concerned an effort by the all-Asian rock band The Slants to trademark their name. The trademark effort was rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, on the grounds that “slant” is a derogatory slang term for Asian people, and the Lanham Act prohibits the registration of derogatory terms and phrases as trademarks. That part of the law is flatly unconstitutional, the court ruled. Even though the court agreed that The Slants have a disparaging name, they ruled it is still legal to trademark it. (RELATED: 12 Trademarks That Are Officially Offensive Than Redskins)

“We recognize that invalidating this provision may lead to the wider registration of marks that offend vulnerable communities,” Judge Kimberly Moore said in her majority opinion. “Whatever our personal feelings about the mark at issue here, or other disparaging marks, the First Amendment forbids government regulators to deny registration because they find the speech likely to offend others.”

Moore said it didn’t matter that the government’s rules didn’t outright ban certain speech. Simply treating speech differently based on its content, she said, was enough to violate the First Amendment.

The ruling doesn’t directly involve the high-profile case of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, but it could have major implications for that case. The Patent and Trademark Office is trying to cancel the trademark on the grounds it is offensive to American Indians, and the team’s attempt to counter that order is currently being heard in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fourth Circuit isn’t bound by the Federal Circuit’s precedents, but circuit courts sometimes drawn upon one another in making rulings. Furthermore, if the Fourth Circuit rules against the Redskins, the clashing precedents would likely set up a final showdown in the Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has consistently maintained the team’s name is not offensive to American Indians, and he has some evidence to support his case. An investigation by linguist Ives Goddard for the Smithsonian Institution found the term originated among Indians as a word to distinguish themselves from white Europeans.

Follow Blake on Twitter

Send tips to blake@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 Daily Caller News Foundation
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Related posts


check over here July 23, 2023 at 10:08 am

… [Trackback]

[…] There you will find 97884 more Information on that Topic: thelibertarianrepublic.com/federal-court-says-govt-cant-censor-trademarks-could-save-redskins/ […]

payday loan January 13, 2024 at 1:39 am

… [Trackback]

[…] Here you can find 26340 more Info on that Topic: thelibertarianrepublic.com/federal-court-says-govt-cant-censor-trademarks-could-save-redskins/ […]

รับออกแบบระบบ March 27, 2024 at 9:13 pm

… [Trackback]

[…] Information to that Topic: thelibertarianrepublic.com/federal-court-says-govt-cant-censor-trademarks-could-save-redskins/ […]

pop over to this website May 4, 2024 at 9:58 am

… [Trackback]

[…] Here you will find 55619 additional Information to that Topic: thelibertarianrepublic.com/federal-court-says-govt-cant-censor-trademarks-could-save-redskins/ […]

scam site: beware do not send money or do business with this site. 100% scam! July 7, 2024 at 8:55 am

… [Trackback]

[…] Find More Information here to that Topic: thelibertarianrepublic.com/federal-court-says-govt-cant-censor-trademarks-could-save-redskins/ […]

Leave a Comment