Supreme Court Knocks Down Ban on ‘Immoral’ and ‘Scandalous’ Trademarks

by Admin on June 27, 2019

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The US Supreme Court ruled recently that a ban by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) on “immoral” and “scandalous” trademarks is a violation of the constitution.

More specifically, the 6-3 ruling in the high court stated that the prohibition infringed on free speech rights.

The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Erik Brunetti, who attempted to trademark his streetwear clothing line under the name “FUCT”, standing for “Friends U Can’t Trust”.

The PTO placed the banned on so-called “immoral” and “scandalous” trademarks under the Lanham Act passed all the way back in 1946.

The act banned many potentially offensive ideas from being trademarked but even went so far to forbid swearwords as well.

“The most fundamental principle of free speech law is that the government can’t penalize or disfavor or discriminate against expressions based on the ideas or viewpoints it conveys,” said Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the majority opinion.

Kagan along with Ruth Bader Ginsburg voted with four of the right-leaning justices in a rare non-partisan vote for the high court.

Thailand trademark lawyers assist creators in gaining legal protection over their ideas and designs as well as seeking restitution for those who infringe on said concepts.

Brunetti’s lawyer stated that even though many Americans might find his client’s trademark offensive, it’s not the role of the government to impose its views of what is tasteful or moral on the public.

“The court’s decision today will beget unfortunate results… the government will have no statutory basis to refuse (and thus no choice but to begin) registering marks containing the most vulgar, profane or obscene words and images imaginable,” said liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor in her dissenting opinion.

Read the full story here.

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