Friday, September 30, 2016

UPDATE: Supreme Court to Decide Whether OFFENSIVE Names Like Redskins or Slants Can be Trademarked

The Supreme Court agreed Thursday to decide whether The Slants, an Asian American rock band from Portland, Ore., can trademark its name despite the government’s objection that it is an offensive term.

This clash between free speech and trademark protection has drawn wide attention in part because the Washington Redskins football team is locked in the same dispute.

The outcome is likely to determine whether Washington’s NFL team will lose its trademark status. Native Americans have sued the team, contending the name Redskins is offensive and disparaging, and the government office agreed its trademark status should be withdrawn. The team has appealed that decision to the high court.

UPDATE:   The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Redskins, who hoped to reverse an earlier U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruling that canceled the team’s trademarks based on a policy that “prohibits registration of marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute.”

In their appeal, the Redskins cited a list of ridiculously offensive trademarks, including DUMB BLONDE beer, CRACKA AZZ SKATEBOARDS, WHITE GIRL WITH A BOOTY apparel and OH! MY NAPPY HAIR shampoo. The team argued the nickname was not offensive to Native Americans, even though the PTO canceled the team’s six trademarks at the request of Native American activists who found the term offensive and, by definition, “a ‘redskin’ is the scalped head of a Native American, sold, like a pelt, for cash.”

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