Redskins Could Score After Slants' Trademark Win

Redskins Could Score After Slants' Trademark Win

According to Alito, the ban on offensive trademarks "offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend".

Slants founder Simon Tam tried to trademark the band name in 2011, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the request on the ground that it disparages Asians.

The Washington Redskins aren't in the clear with their team name just yet, even after the Supreme Court ruled Monday that the government can't block trademarks on the basis that they're offensive.

The Asian American rock band The Slants are playing a happy tune after winning a landmark first amendment case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tam took his case to court, and the Supreme Court ultimately decided in favor of Tam in a unanimous decision.

The long and winding road regarding whether Washington will lose federal trademark protection for its name and logo isn't officially over, but it essentially is. Alito rejected arguments that the government has an interest in preventing speech that is offensive to certain groups.

The justices ruled that a 71-year-old clause in the Lanham Act, which barred disparaging terms or phrases from receiving federal trademark registration, infringed on free speech. "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".




This is strong medicine, both in terms of the support it offers free speech and in terms of what it requires of those who do take offense at expressions likely to enjoy court protection as a result of this opinion - specifically the Washington football team's name...

The Supreme Court ruled against banning offensive trademarks in a court case on Monday. If the federal registration of a trademark makes the mark government speech, the Federal Government is babbling prodigiously and incoherently.

"I don't like anything about the Washington Redskins", First Amendment scholar Rodney Smolla told USA TODAY Sports when the professors' brief was filed in 2015. "I think that their name is forever deemed offensive".

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

"The (lower) courts found the name is offensive", Blackhorse said.

Despite intense public pressure to change the Redskins name, team owner Dan Snyder has refused, saying in the past that it "represents honor, respect and pride" for Native Americans.

Philip Yenyo, executive director of the American Indian Movement of OH, says he does not think Monday's court ruling will help teams like the Washington Redskins and Indians keep monikers that some find offensive. 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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