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Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibited

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Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibited

Postby Aloha Nole » June 19th, 2017, 3:57 pm

A-freakin'- men. About time someone stood up and said enough is enough.

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Justices Strike Down Law Banning Disparaging Trademarks
By ADAM LIPTAKJUNE 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — In a decision likely to bolster the Washington Redskins’ efforts to protect its trademarks, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the government may not refuse to register potentially offensive names. A law denying protection to disparaging trademarks, the court said, violated the First Amendment.

The decision was unanimous, but the justices were divided on the reasoning.

The decision, concerning an Asian-American dance-rock band called the Slants, probably also means that the Washington Redskins football team will win its fight to retain federal trademark protection.

The law at issue in both cases denies federal trademark protection to messages that may disparage people, living or dead, along with “institutions, beliefs or national symbols.”

In 2015, a federal appeals court in Washington found the law’s disparagement provision unconstitutional in a case brought by the Slants. Writing for the majority in a 9-to-3 decision, Judge Kimberly A. Moore of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said that while some of the rejected trademarks “convey hurtful speech that harms members of oft-stigmatized communities,” the First Amendment “protects even hurtful speech.”

Supreme Court decisions in recent years have protected offensive speech, including hateful protests at military funerals, depictions of animal cruelty and lies about military honors. More generally, the court said in 2015 in Reed v. Town of Gilbert that laws “that target speech based on its communicative content” were “presumptively unconstitutional.”

On the other hand, the Supreme Court has said that the First Amendment falls out of the analysis when the government is not acting as a censor, but is merely choosing what speech to adopt or support. In 2015, in a 5-to-4 decision in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, the court ruled that Texas could refuse to allow specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag because the plates were the government’s speech and were thus immune from attacks on First Amendment grounds.

The Slants said they did not intend to disparage anyone. Instead, they said, they sought to adopt and reform a disparaging term about Asians, much as some gay people have embraced the term “queer.”

The government has applied the law inconsistently when faced with trademarks based on ethnic slurs. It has, for instance, both registered and rejected trademarks for the terms “Heeb,” “Dago,” “Injun” and “Squaw.”

In the Redskins case, the trademark office registered the team’s trademarks in 1967, 1974, 1978 and 1990. In 2014, though, it reversed course and canceled six registrations, saying they disparaged Native Americans.

The team lost before a trial judge in Virginia and appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, also in Virginia. The appeals court put the case aside while the Supreme Court considered the Slants case, Matal v. Tam, No. 15-1293.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/19/us/p ... &smtyp=cur
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Re: Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibit

Postby Domer » June 22nd, 2017, 2:02 pm

Aloha Nole wrote:A-freakin'- men. About time someone stood up and said enough is enough.

Agree 100%.
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Re: Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibit

Postby Iconoclast » June 26th, 2017, 9:08 pm

I just heard an interview with one of the members of the Slants about their case. Pretty coincidental.

I also find it interesting that the justices were unanimous. I might not be completely surprised, but it's nice to see them in complete agreement from time to time. Is this another case where the 9th circus court was overruled?
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Re: Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibit

Postby Aloha Nole » June 27th, 2017, 3:41 am

Iconoclast wrote:Is this another case where the 9th circus court was overruled?


No, I do not think that the 9th Circus was involved in this.

I think it was mainly being done by the Obumble Administration and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
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Re: Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibit

Postby Dubby » June 27th, 2017, 8:01 am

Aloha Nole wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:Is this another case where the 9th circus court was overruled?


No, I do not think that the 9th Circus was involved in this.

I think it was mainly being done by the Obumble Administration and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).


The trademark issue started long before the previous administration.

The first action in the dispute occurred in 1992, when Suzan Shown Harjo, President of the Morning Star Institute, with six other prominent Native Americans represented by the Dorsey & Whitney law firm of Minneapolis, petitioned the USPTO to cancel the trademark registrations owned by the Redskins' corporate entity of Pro-Football, Inc. They based their lawsuit on the claim that federal trademark law states that certain trademark registrations are not legal if they are "disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous, or disreputable." The legal battle went on for seven years. In 1999 the PTO judges canceled the federal registration of the mark REDSKINS "on the grounds that the subject marks may disparage Native Americans and may bring them into contempt or disrepute."[1] The owners appealed the decision to a district court in the District of Columbia in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo. The court reversed the USPTO's decision on the grounds of insufficient evidence of disparagement. Subsequent appeals have been rejected on the basis of laches, which means that the specific Native American plaintiffs had pursued their rights in an untimely and delayed manner. In 2009 the Supreme Court declined to take up the case

Congress got involved in 2013. On March 20, 2013, a bill was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, Delegate from American Samoa, and co-sponsored by 19 others to amend the Trademark Act of 1946 to void any trademark registrations that disparage Native American persons or peoples, such as redskins.


The Redskins trademark issue started with Indians PC crowd that has been on native nicknames for decades.
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Re: Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibit

Postby Aloha Nole » June 27th, 2017, 3:17 pm

The courts tossed the 1992 case out, then in 2013 it came back under OBumble.
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Re: Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibit

Postby Dubby » June 27th, 2017, 3:57 pm

Aloha Nole wrote:The courts tossed the 1992 case out, then in 2013 it came back under OBumble.


It started in 1992 and that ball was rolling by 2013 Native Americans have keep it rolling and it would have no matter who was in the WH.

I was there in 1993 last year living in Chicago land and the schools districts starting outlawing what they called offensive nicknames. One of the teams in the State HS playoffs that season went from Redskins to start season and were Redhawks to finish it. They're still Redhawks today. Miami (OH) is Redhawks after being Redskins and that was changed back in 1996 due to the 1992 case.

While colleges and High Schools caved in. Washington and Snyder refused.

Native Americans will try something else as they're still after all nicknames using Native Americans
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Re: Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibit

Postby Dubby » June 27th, 2017, 4:52 pm

The reason I'm on this is I remember the HS and college back in the 1990's being forced to drop long time nicknames due the 1992 case.

That is why I don't hardly blame previous ADM for Washington Redskins trademark fight when Native Americans starting raising this stink decades ago.

They're still pushing the Cleveland Indians, (Chief Wahoo) KC Chiefs, (Toned down the Mascots use the Arrowhead) Illinois Illini (Cant use their Mascot or previous likeness) North Dakota Sioux.

Be grateful the Seminole Nation approves Florida St (Should have left the Iconic look alone) and their Mascot or they still be after them as well.
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Re: Supreme Courts say Redskins Trademark cannot be prohibit

Postby Iconoclast » June 29th, 2017, 1:20 am

Aloha Nole wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:Is this another case where the 9th circus court was overruled?


No, I do not think that the 9th Circus was involved in this.

I think it was mainly being done by the Obumble Administration and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).



Not to turn this into a political thread, but this is why I am so happy Trump was elected. Now, if Ginsburg or Kennedy decide to remove themselves from the court within the next couple of years and Trump can put on one, if not two, more justices, then it was all I was hoping for.
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