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First Amendment Trumps Ban on Registering Disparaging Marks

The CEO of ACME Corporation was pouring over productivity reports when his in-house counsel walked in with news.  We join the discussion.

CEO:               Hello, counsel.  How are we doing with registering our ROADRUNNERS SUCK mark?  Didn’t the USPTO refuse to register our mark because it is ‘disparaging?’

Attorney:         Good news, sir.  We can get our registration now.  The US Supreme Court decided in Tam that the First Amendment trumps the prohibition on registering marks with disparaging content.

CEO:               Didn’t you show me a blog post about that?  It was a good read.

Attorney:         That post was a good read.

CEO:               Are we clear to get our mark registered?

Attorney:         Yes.  The mark qualifies and the Tam decision clears the obstacle by the USPTO that our “disparaging” mark cannot register.  We and anyone with a mark like that now can get the benefits of registration.

CEO:               Another victory for free speech, eh?

Attorney:         Certainly.  I still want to talk to you about adding a warning label.

CEO:              That again?  Leave it be.

Attorney:         Mr. Coyote!  The fake tunnel entrance sold under the ROADRUNNERS SUCK mark risks having people think they are real, and running into them.  We could get sued!

CEO:               Damn lawyers.  Fine.  Get your team on it.

The attorney left and the CEO checked his email.  He found an email from his arch business rival with an audio file attachment.  The CEO clicked the attachment.  What came out of the computer’s speakers was a loud “BEEP BEEP!”

This post provides general information only.  This post is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to be legal advice about your situation.  A blog article is not a substitute for legal advice that fits your situation.  Laws change and your situation may be different.  You should consult with a licensed attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.

© 2017 Matthew D. Macy