June 28, 2017

Law360 quotes Andrew Price regarding "The Slants" and the rock band's recent win in the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the disparagement clause and the subsequent impact on the "Redskins" trademark

2 min

Andrew Price was quoted in a Law360 article on June 28, 2017, which examined the ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Matal v. Tam. The court ruled that the Lanham Act's ban on "disparaging" trademark registrations violated the First Amendment. The provision, the so-called disparagement clause of the Lanham Act’s Section 2a, had been on the books since the Lanham Act was enacted in 1947, but Justice Samuel Alito wrote that it very clearly discriminated against trademark applicants based on their viewpoint.

The immediate winner in the decision was a rock band called The Slants, which had fought all the way to the high court after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused to register the band's name on the grounds that it was "disparaging" to people of Asian descent. The Washington Redskins football team saw its own registrations canceled in 2014 over the same rule, however, this decision may overturn that loss.

"The Supreme Court's decision that the Trademark Office must be viewpoint-neutral when registering brands like The Slants means the Redskins name will soon reclaim the benefits of federal registration," said Price. "The Redskins should really be singing 'Hail to The Slants.'"