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Supreme Court Strikes Down Rule Banning Offensive Trademarks

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A rule denying trademark protection for terms deemed to be offensive was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in a ruling issued on Monday.

The justices ruled that part of a federal law denying trademarks that disparage individuals, institutions, beliefs or national symbols violates the First Amendment.

"It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend," Justice Samuel Alito wrote.

The case involved Simon Tam, a social activist who founded an all-Asian American rock band named "The Slants."

The ruling could have implications for a dispute involving the NFL's Washington Redskins, who had their trademark canceled under the clause.

Lisa Blatt, an attorney for the Redskins, said the team was "thrilled" with the decision, which she claimed resolves the long-standing dispute.

"The Supreme Court vindicated the Team's position that the First Amendment blocks the government from denying or canceling a trademark registration based on the government's opinion," Blatt said.

by RTT Staff Writer

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