U.S. Justices to Hear 'Offensive' Mark Case on Jan. 18

U.S. Justices to Hear 'Offensive' Mark Case on Jan. 18
Rhett Pardon

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has slated oral arguments for Wednesday, Jan. 18., in a trademark case that should be of particular interest to adult business operators.

The high court earlier this year agreed to decide whether The Slants, an Asian American rock band from Portland, Ore, can trademark its name despite the federal government’s objection that it is an "offensive" term.

An appellate decision by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last year that ruled against the U.S Patent and Trademark Office in the case was not just a win for The Slants but for companies in the adult entertainment industry that might use rough-and-tumble jargon to describe their erotic products and services, as well.

U.S. justices now will provide guidance on whether disparaging terms can be registered as trademarks or whether refusing registration is a violation of First Amendment rights.

The decision for justices to hear the case invites a challenge to the "immoral and scandalous" clause for trademarks that most affects the adult entertainment industry, industry attorney Marc Randazza of Randazza Legal Group told XBIZ in September. Randazza last year authored an amicus brief in The Slants case on behalf of the First Amendment Lawyers Association.  

On Monday, The Slants tweeted: “We officially got the date: The Supreme Court will be hearing our case on Jan 18.” The band offered a Twitter link to fundraising site Generosity, where the group has set up a page to raise $10,000 for its legal case.

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