Lori Kozak writes:
We have blogged previously about the litigation involving cancellation of the “Redskins” trademark as disparaging and the team’s appeal to the 4th Circuit, claiming (among other arguments) that the disparagement provision of Lanham Act Section 2(a) is unconstitutional because it violates free speech under the First Amendment.
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit handed down a decision in In re Tam, Appeal No. 2014-1203, finding that the disparagement provision of Lanham Act Section 2(a) violates free speech under the First Amendment.
The Asian-American rock bank The Slants had been denied registration of their mark on the grounds that the mark is derogatory of persons of Asian-American descent. That refusal has now been overturned and the case returns to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, who will have to approve the trademark if no other provisions bar it from being registered.
No doubt the Redskins feel that Christmas came early this year, as this decision helps to boost their efforts to keep their “Redskins” trademark registrations.
Lori S. Kozak is a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles (Century City) office.