"The Slants" Win on Free Speech

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"This is just another day for Native Americans. There is rarely ever justice for Native Americans". "I feel like the whole process helped us get through this", she said, while noting "some people would go back to the Redskins name in a heartbeat". Nine of 10 American Indians have no problem with the use of the term "Redskins" as a sports mascot, according to a poll past year conducted by the Washington Post.

In its ruling, the court argued that historically, the Lanham Act has been applied inconsistently by the Trademark Office. This didn't matter to the trademark office any more than it presumably would to the dean of students at the average liberal-arts college.

"The Redskins ownership has to be very happy with this decision", Graber said.

"I want to make clear that this ruling does not state that the Washington team's name is OK", Blackhorse said after Monday's ruling.

"We respectfully disagree with the Court's decision".

The federal government had argued that trademarks are government speech, but Alito wrote to the contrary, saying "trademarks are private, not government speech". Fundamentally, the First Amendment prevents the government from punishing or suppressing speech based on disapproval of the ideas or perspectives the speech conveys.

Alito wrote that denying registrations that are offensive "offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend".

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Pyongyang often accuses Seoul of kidnapping its citizens or enticing them to defect to the South. North Korea's official media routinely reports on such missile launches the following day.


Blackhorse called the decision "disheartening" after 11 years of litigation. One can only wonder how many trademarks have been refused registration because certain groups of people found them to be offensive. "But in my view it was just not possible to defend the statute". This case dealt with a band's application for federal trademark registration of the band's name, "The Slants". It also said that what does, or does not constitute disparagement, should not be left to whims of a few patent officers.

"I would expect the Redskins' counsel to file sometime this week, if not today". On Monday the court ruled the government is not allowed to refuse registering potentially offensive names.

The rockers have found broad support, including from the American Civil Liberties Union, which staunchly defends freedom of expression, and the premier business lobby, the US Chamber of Commerce. A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., later said the law barring offensive trademarks is unconstitutional.

Schiller, the intellectual property attorney at Boies Schiller Flexner in NY, is a lifelong fan of the team.

In 2014, the Redskins organization was unable to trademark its name after courts ruled the name was disparaging toward Native Americans.

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder says he's "thrilled" about the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the disparagement clause in trademark law. If you're interested, hear "From the Heart", from the Slants' cheekily-titled The Band Who Must Not Be Named EP, below.

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