Is this the end of the bar against registrability for scandalous and immoral trademarks?

On December 15, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) struck down the portion of the Lanham Act (aka the Trademark Act) which prevented immoral or scandalous trademarks from being registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The CAFC's decision involved the term FUCT (In re Brunetti) which pertained to various types of apparel, including clothing for children and infants. However, the move did not come as a tremendous surprise. About seven months prior, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the portion of the Lanham Act in a case (Matal v. Tam) which involved the mark, "The Slants." The Slants decision, which was made on the basis of violating the First Amendment, received widespread attention for its seemingly groundbreaking nature. However, it was generally expected that the rationale of the Supreme Court in Matal v. Tam would be adopted by the CAFC and other lower courts in later decisions – which is precisely what has now occurred in this recent decision by the CAFC. [More]

Patent and trademark registrations are on the rise; are your business assets protected?

Without patents and trademarks, some of the most valuable business assets in the U.S. would be left unprotected and vulnerable to misappropriation. In Crain’s Cleveland Business, James Pingor, chair of our Intellectual Property group, explains why legal protection for intellectual property should be a priority for business owners and entrepreneurs. [More]

Questionably Offensive Trademarks Cleared for U.S. Registration

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the disparagement clause violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. This decision emanates from the case involving the lead singer of the rock group called "The Slants" who sought federal registration of the mark "THE SLANTS". The registration was originally denied by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) because the name was determined to be offensive to particular ethnic groups that have been described as having slant-eyes. [More]

Questionably Offensive Trademarks Cleared for U.S. Registration

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the disparagement clause violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. This decision emanates from the case involving the lead singer of the rock group called "The Slants" who sought federal registration of the mark "THE SLANTS". The registration was originally denied by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) because the name was determined to be offensive to particular ethnic groups that have been described as having slant-eyes. [More]