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  • Henry Park

Free Speech triumphs

Last year, I blogged about how in Switzerland there were seven trademark registrations that included the word FU*K. And, that in the U.S., there was an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to the law that prohibited the registration of a trademark that may disparage any person. The Supreme Court just ruled (see decision).

We now hold that this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.

This decision should have an immediate impact on the Washington Redskins American football team's trademark dispute (see link 1, link 2). Additionally, this decision may affect adversely the other prohibitions in the Lanham Act (see 15 U.S.C. 1052(a)).

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