It’s a good day to be waiting with bated breath to hear whether your wildly offensive trademark will gain approval from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Just ask Erik Brunetti, the founder of clothing brand, FUCT, which allegedly stands for “Friends You Can’t Trust.” So like FUBU, but for hipsters.
The US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Monday that Johnny Law can’t deny trademark registration just because a request is “immoral or scandalous.” The reason? The First Amendment. Ever heard of it?
Justice Elena Kagan had this to say: “The First Amendment does not allow the government to penalize views just because many people, whether rightly or wrongly, see them as offensive.” RBG and Clarence Thomas among others could be heard saying “yeah, what she said!”
Although this case revolved around an edgy hipster brand, dissenting justices have concerns about how far bigots, and idiots in general, will push the envelope. Justice Sotomayor worries the government will be forced to trademark “the most vulgar, profane, or obscene words and images imaginable.”
Why does this sound familiar?
You might remember that distasteful trademarks have been a point of contention for some time, coming to a head with the 2014 cancellation of The Washington Redskins trademarks. Of course, the issue was put to rest in mid-2017 when the “Slants,” an Asian-American rock band won a Supreme Court case allowing them to trademark their incredibly stupid and offensive name.
U.S. Supreme Court Throws Out Federal Curb on Vulgar Trademarks [Bloomberg]
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