Supreme Court

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In an 8-0 vote, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that a federal regulation prohibiting offensive trademarks was an unconstitutional infringement of free speech.

“It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s unanimous opinion. “Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

The plaintiff in the case at hand was an Asian-American rock band called the Slants, who had attempted to register the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The group’s application was refused, on the grounds that the band name was inherently offensive.

The high court’s ruling upheld an earlier verdict in favor of the Slants and their founding member, Simon Tam. In a 2015 article, he described his intentions and why his group’s trademark application deserved to be approved:

I named the band the Slants because it represented our perspective — or slant — on life as people of color. It was a deliberate act of claiming an identity as well as a nod to Asian American activists who had been using the term for decades. …

Rather than focusing on whether or not Asian Americans actually believed our use of the word to be disparaging, we …read more

Source:: Salon – Entertainment

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