Outside Publication

Supremes Rule in Favor of The Slants in a Sweeping Trademark Decision, Texas Bar IP Tip Sheet, Vol. 12 No. 2

September 2017

In June, the United States Supreme Court issued an eagerly anticipated decision involving a social justice activist, musician Simon Tam. Applicant and appellee Tam is the lead singer of a band named The Slants, and owner of trademark application U.S. Ser. No. 85/472,044 seeking to register his band’s name in connection with entertainment services in Class 41. Tam’s eight-year protracted battle with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office finally ended with the Supreme Court deciding 8-0 in Tam’s favor and affirming the Federal Circuit’s opinion striking down the “disparagement” portion of 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a) (also known as Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act) as unconstitutional. The ruling overturns the USPTO’s rejection of Tam’s application and clears the path to federal registration.

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