Home > News > FALA Sides With Redskins in Trademark Case • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

FALA Sides With Redskins in Trademark Case

FALA Sides With Redskins in Trademark Case
Get XBIZ News
Nov 9, 2015 11:46 AM PST    Text size: 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The First Amendment Lawyers Association has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the cancellation of the Washington Redskin’s trademarks.

The Redskins, waging a 20-year battle to protect the football team’s name in the face of charges that it is offensive to Native Americans, was hit with an adverse judgment against its name, which it has used for 83 years.

In 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board voted to cancel the Redskins’ trademark, declaring it to be offensive to Native Americans and therefore in violation of the Lanham Act, which prohibits names that “may disparage” or bring those into contempt or disrepute.

The Redskins brought an action challenging the board’s cancellation of the trademarks in Virginia federal court, but that court upheld the ruling asserting that cancellation did not violate any First Amendment rights of the football club.

Last week, in a brief, the Redskins told a 4th Circuit panel that there are countless potentially “offensive” brand names, including “Midget-Man condoms and inflatable sex dolls ... Anal Fantasy Collection ... Edible Crotchless Gummy Panties lingerie.”

FALA, in its amicus brief filed Friday, has asked for free speech protection for the Redskins team name, claiming that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a) violates the First Amendment in that it is a viewpoint-based restriction on protected commercial speech “because it deprives citizens of a federal benefit based on both the content and the viewpoint of their speech.”

No articulable government interest exists to justify this restriction, FALA said in the brief, noting that the law is also void for vagueness because it does not warn trademark holders of what marks will be deemed immoral, scandalous or disparaging.

FALA’s brief to the court was written by adult industry attorney Marc Randazza, who wrote that the court cannot suppress trademarks without also suppressing the ideas they convey.

Randazza said that courts have let Section 2(a) stand unquestioned for far too long, noting that the law is unconstitutional and has done great harm to the marketplace of ideas for decades.

“Trademarks provide information to potential and current consumers, ranging from information about goods and services to company values, beliefs and ideas,” Randazza wrote. “Therefore, the government cannot use Section 2(a)’s restriction on “immoral . . . or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage” to suppress the protected speech encompassed by trademarks without adequate justification.”

FALA is one of several groups that have filed amicus curiae briefs, or friend-of-the-court briefs. So far the American Civil Liberties Union, The Rutherford Institute and Cato, among others, have taken the side of the Redskins in the appellate case.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

OPINIONS & VIEWS

Differences Between Static, Smart Links

Affiliate marketing, the concept of paying commission for referred business, was employed long before the internet. But just four years after the invention of the World Wide Web, it made the jump into... More »

How to Exploit Video Banner Advertising

The video banner ad format is becoming more and more popular with marketers. Online research company eMarketer states that in the U.S., by 2019 digital ad spending for video banners will rise to $6.82... More »

The Skinny on the New DMCA Requirement

The requirements under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) have changed, but the sky is not falling. We have, even as a law firm, been hit with an unbelievable amount of spam sent out by law firms... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ World magazine, the industry's leading e-commerce trade publication, delivering in-depth coverage of the online, mobile and ancillary digital markets.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The European Summit

Mar 04 - Mar 07
Barcelona-Sitges, Spain

The TEA Show

Mar 05 - Mar 06
Hollywood, CA

Phoenix Forum 2017

Mar 23 - Mar 26
Tempe, Arizona

EXXXOTICA Denver

Mar 31 - Apr 02
Denver, CO.
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!