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Lawrence G. TownsendIntellectual Property Lawyer

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SCOTUS protects “scandalous” trademarks in 2019

In a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision, the Court found a statutory bar to trademark protection was unconstitutional. The year 2020 promises to bring more in the realm of trademark law, and it will be reported here when it happens.

Clothing designer seeks registration for “scandalous” trademark

The case, Iancu c. Brunetti, involved an attempt to register the trademark for the term FUCT. An entrepreneur submitted the trademark application to use with his clothing line. The PTO denied the application, stating it was against the Lanham Act which prohibits the registration of “immoral or scandalous matter.”

SCOTUS ultimately held the provision in the Lanham Act was a violation of the First Amendment. However, because such terms typically do not make good candidates for trademarks that charm, attract, and engender trust in a brand, there have been and will likely be few new filings for what were previously barred “scandalous” trademark registrations.

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Lawrence G. Townsend

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