The Slants Win the Day!

The Slants Win the Day!

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On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that a law denying federal trademark protection to names deemed disparaging is unconstitutional. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the unanimous decision, quote “It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

The suit was brought by Portland dance-rock band The Slants. Asian-American musicians who have taken their name from an ethnic slur and worn it with pride. They sued because when they tried to register the trademark, the US Patent and Trademark Office said, “The Slants?” No no no no no no.

Bob spoke to the founder of the Slants, Simon Tam exactly 2 years ago when they had just lost their appeal at the Federal Circuit Court.