Category Archives: TTAB

En Banc Federal Circuit Rules Ban On “Disparaging” Trademarks Unconstitutional

Author: Jonathan Uffelman
Editor: Julia Anne Matheson

In In re Tam, a divided Federal Circuit sitting en banc determined that the portion of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act that precludes registration of “disparaging” trademarks is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.  In re Tam, No. 14-1203 (Dec. 22, 2015).  A review of the en banc briefs can be found here.  A detailed discussion of the en banc decision can be found on Finnegan’s Incontestable® blog.

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A New Slant on the First Amendment? In an En Banc Decision the Federal Circuit Will Decide Whether the Ban on Registration of “Disparaging Marks” Is Unconstitutional

Author: Samhitha C. Muralidhar 
Editor: Julia Anne Matheson

In In re Tam, an en banc Federal Circuit will decide whether the PTO’s ban on registration of disparaging marks violates the First Amendment.  This decision, involving the registration of the mark “THE SLANTS,” will set the stage for the appeal from Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse, No. 1:14-cv-1043, 2015 WL 4096277 (E.D. Va. July 8, 2015) involving the mark “REDSKINS.”  The In re Tam decision will focus not on whether the mark “THE SLANTS” is, factually, disparaging, but rather on whether the ban on registration of disparaging marks is constitutional. Continue reading