Jason Bloom Discusses SCOTUS Ruling on Scandalous Trademark

07/03/2019

Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner Jason Bloom spoke with Managing Intellectual Property and World Trademark Review about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Iancu v Brunetti.

Here are excerpts:

Managing Intellectual Property:

In its June 24 Iancu v. Brunetti decision, the US Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit’s 2017 ruling and found that the Lanham Act’s bar on registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. As Managing IP reported previously, the justices grappled with many issues during oral arguments, which bore out in the court’s 6-3 decision.

Writing for the majority, Justice Kagan’s opinion stated: “The First Amendment does not allow the government to penalize views just because many people, whether rightly or wrongly, see them as offensive … There are a great many immoral and scandalous ideas in the world (even more than there are swear words), and the Lanham Act covers them all.”

Essentially, the USPTO’s ban on scandalous and immoral marks was found to be viewpoint-discriminatory.

Jason Bloom, partner at Haynes and Boone in Dallas, Texas, agrees: “Having trademark examiners make determinations on what is and isn’t immoral naturally leads to inconsistent results. And there just aren’t any compelling policy reasons for the government to be able to deny registrations on morality grounds — certainly none that outweigh the First Amendment concerns.”

To read the full article, click here. (Subscription required)

Bloom was also quoted in World Trademark Review:

“Post Tam, the outcome is not surprising at all, and is the right one. The court properly found the morality clause, like the disparagement clause, to be viewpoint discrimination. Moreover, having trademark examiners make determinations on what is and isn’t immoral naturally leads to inconsistent results. And there just aren’t any compelling policy reasons for the government to be able to deny registrations on morality grounds – certainly none that outweigh the First Amendment concerns.”

To read the full article, click here.

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