The Jury Talks Back


A Great Day for Free Speech: The Slants (and Ron Coleman) Win

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:16 am

The Slants have won. The disparagement provision of the Lanham Act has been declared unconstitutional, to the joy of free-speech advocates everywhere — and to the surprise of nobody following the case. In January, after reviewing the oral arguments, I wrote:

I remain cautiously optimistic that the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, which allows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to deny trademark protection to so-called “disparaging” trademarks, will be struck down as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I predict the vote will be 7-1 — with Justice Sotomayor, the “wise Latina,” in the minority.

Well, even Justice Sotomayor hopped on board, and the decision was a hearty unanimous 8-0 — albeit with a bunch of opinions that I currently lack the time to sort through.

It’s a great day for the First Amendment.

If you want to read more about the background, you can do so here.

Congratulations to Ron Coleman of Archer & Greiner and the Likelihood of Confusion blog. I’m sure everyone remembers that Ron, along with the redoubtable Bruce Godfrey of Jezic & Moyse LLC, is still defending me in a censorious lawsuit brought by convicted bomber and perjurer Brett Kimberlin. Give him a shout-out on the Twitters for me.

1 Comment »

  1. Good decision. Common sense isn’t dead… yet. It’s one thing for a private institution to govern speech, quite another for the Government to do so.

    Comment by Sean — 6/19/2017 @ 7:40 am

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