Is ‘The Slants’ Racist? Court Ruling on Band Name Could Upend Trademark Law
[Excerpt] "Under federal law, trademarks that may disparage people, or bring them into contempt, are not permitted registration. NFL’s Washington Redskins, for example, was initially granted a trademark registration for its team name, but that was cancelled last June in a landmark decision that deemed it disparaging to Native Americans.
"Registration is a valuable branding tool to a trademark owner. While unregistered marks may still be used in the marketplace, registration confers significant benefits. Registered trademarks enjoy nationwide protection, confer a presumption of validity and, if used continuously for five years, can be challenged in court only on limited grounds. Marks that have been refused registration are not eligible for enforcement."
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Megan M. Carpenter, Is ‘The Slants’ Racist? Court Ruling on Band Name Could Upend Trademark Law, The Conversation (Oct. 2, 2015, 4:38 AM), http://theconversation.com/is-the-slants-racist-court-ruling-on-band-name-could-upend-trademark-law-48413