Supreme Court rules the Slants may trademark their name, striking down law banning offensive terms

The Supreme Court extended trademark protection on Monday to words and names that may be offensive, ruling that the 1st Amendment right to free speech allows an Asian American band to call itself the Slants.

Rather than second-guess that judgment, the Supreme Court instead struck down the part of the law that called for making such assessments. “We now hold that this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the 1st Amendment,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said.

3 Other Related Articles

Fox News -
Washington Redskins owner 'thrilled' by Supreme Court's trademark ruling

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said Monday he's "thrilled" about the Supreme Court decision striking down a federal trademark law banning names the government deems offensive.

"The Supreme Court vindicated the team's position that the First Amendment blocks the government from denying or cancelling a trademark registration based on the government's opinion,” Redskins lawyer Lisa Blatt said in response to Monday’s ruling.

Fox News -
Supreme Court sides with The Slants, rules ban on offensive names is unconstitutional

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a federal trademark law banning offensive names is unconstitutional, siding with a rock band whose name had been deemed racially disparaging by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In an 8-0 ruling, the court determined the law’s so-called “disparagement clause” violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment. The case centered on Oregon-based, Asian-American band The Slants, which was denied a trademark because its name was considered offensive.

CBS News -
The Slants' Supreme Court case win may help Washington Redskins

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down part of a law that bans offensive trademarks in a ruling that is expected to help the Washington Redskins in their legal fight over the team name.

A federal appeals court in Richmond put the team's case on hold while waiting for the Supreme Court to rule in the Slants case. In his opinion for the court, Justice Samuel Alito rejected arguments that trademarks are government speech, not private speech.

“Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets...” ― Napoléon Bonaparte