Ninth Circuit Holds County’s Advertising Restriction on “Disparaging Material” Unconstitutional

By Justin K. Powley and David G. Barker The Ninth Circuit held yesterday in American Freedom Defense Initiative v. King County that a county’s advertising program on public buses that rejected advertisements on the basis of disparaging material violates the First Amendment’s free speech clause and therefore is unconstitutional. King County provides public transportation in the Seattle metropolitan area and sells advertising space on the exterior of public buses. The County generally accepts all advertisements that do not contain prohibited content, including: false statements, disparaging material, or content that may disrupt the transit system. American Freedom Defense Initiative submitted a   Read More »

Posted in IP and Technology Litigation, Trademark Litigation | Tagged ,

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Federal Circuit Holds “Scandalous and Immoral” Ban Unconstitutional

By Tyler J. Fortner and David G. Barker Last Friday, in In re Brunetti, the Federal Circuit held that the ban on “scandalous and immoral” trademarks under 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a) is unconstitutional. The decision follows the June 19, 2017, Supreme Court decision, Matal v. Tam (discussed here), which held that the clause prohibiting marks that “disparage” in the same statute is unconstitutional. In Tam, the Court held that the PTO’s refusal to register the Asian-American band name, “THE SLANTS,” violated the First Amendment. Relying on Tam, the Federal Circuit reversed the PTO’s refusal to register “Fuct” as a trademark.   Read More »

Posted in Trademark Litigation | Tagged ,

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