Trademarks for Immoral Titles

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law barring trademarks for names or logos with “immoral” or “scandalous” images (e.g., those with profanity or sexual imagery). In denying a trademark to designer Erik Brunetti, the Patent and Trademark Office’s appeals board had found the one he tried to register, “FUCT,” to be “highly offensive” and “vulgar.” The Court said this denial violates the First Amendment (freedom of speech). The Court indicated that the government could restrict trademarks if a new law were to have a narrower bar.

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