June 26, 2019

World Trademark Review Quotes David Fink on Supreme Court Decision in Iancu v. Brunetti

1 min

On June 25, 2019, David Fink was quoted in World Trademark Review regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Iancu v Brunetti. A divided U.S. Supreme Court said that the First Amendment prohibits the U.S. government from denying intellectual property protection to "immoral" or "scandalous" trademarks, such as the name of the clothing line "FUCT," which was in the case before the justices. The Supreme Court held that the Lanham Act, which bans registration of "immoral and scandalous matter," violates the free speech rights of clothing designer Erik Brunetti.

At the heart of the decision was reasoning similar to that of the Supreme Court's previous ruling in Matal v. Tam, in which the Court determined that if a trademark registration bar is viewpoint based, it is unconstitutional.

"Iancu v. Brunetti finishes the sentence that was started in the Matal v. Tam case," said Fink. "It takes the ruling in Tam and extends it to its logical conclusion that both 'disparaging' speech and 'immoral' speech are still protected speech under the First Amendment. The Lanham Act cannot diminish those protections."