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posted by cmn32480 on Saturday October 01 2016, @12:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the who-defines-offensive dept.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would decide, once and for all, whether federal intellectual property regulators can refuse to issue trademarks with disparaging or inappropriate names.

At the center of the issue is a section of trademark law that actually forbids the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from approving a trademark if it "consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute."

The case before the justices, which they will hear sometime in the upcoming term beginning in October, concerns the Portland-based Asian-American rock band called the Slants. Previously, decisions have come down on both sides regarding trademarking offensive names. The most notable denial is likely the name of the NFL's Washington franchise, "Redskins." But lesser known denials include "Stop the Islamization of America," "The Christian Prostitute," "AMISHHOMO," "Mormon Whiskey," "Ride Hard Retard," "Abort the Republicans," and "Democrats Shouldn't Breed."

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/09/can-you-trademark-an-offensive-name-or-not-us-supreme-court-to-decide/


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @02:24PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @02:24PM (#408777)

    But why? If trademarks are to exist at all, what valid reason does the government have to say that certain trademarks which contain "offensive" words are not valid? Something being offensive to some people isn't a valid reason to deny a trademark.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @02:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @02:33PM (#408779)

    > But why? Something being offensive to some people isn't a valid reason to deny a trademark.

    But why not? Something intentionally chosen to demean and intimidate some people is a valid reason to deny special privileges.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @03:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @03:18PM (#408795)

      No, it's not, and trademarks were never supposed to be used in this way. Personally, I find all trademarks related to religion highly offensive and I demand that they all be revoked. My subjective sensitivities need to be catered to.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @04:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @04:37PM (#408822)

        I'm pretty sure you've already got your wish in that religions can not be trademarked.

        As for being offended, tough shit. You taking offense isn't the same thing as being demeaned or insulted no matter how much you wish to expand the definition.

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @05:21PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @05:21PM (#408831)

          I use the word nigger regularly. It's not my problem if niggers take offence to it.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @06:00PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @06:00PM (#408842)

            Use it all you want. You just can't trademark protection for it.

            • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Sunday October 02 2016, @11:49PM

              by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Sunday October 02 2016, @11:49PM (#409182)

              Until1926 there was a product called Nigger Hair pipe tobacco. In that year they changed it to Bigger Hair.

              They are collectors items now. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't fly today, and apparently became taboo long before I would of believed.

              --
              Trump succeeds in making Nixon look respectable, Mission Accomplished!
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02 2016, @01:51AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02 2016, @01:51AM (#408939)

          Being demeaned or insulted are not good reasons to deny trademarks, either. And keep in mind that the reason that being demeaned or insulted is seen as a bad thing is because sometimes people take... offense. So it's about offensiveness in the end, which is 100% subjective.

          I'm pretty sure you've already got your wish in that religions can not be trademarked.

          Religions, maybe. But if you combine some religious terminology with other words, trademarks may be possible.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @05:32PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @05:32PM (#408836)

        It pleases me to hear whiney pusses whine about being offended. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, almost like petting a purring kitty sitting on my chest. Whine away, you little puss.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02 2016, @01:53AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02 2016, @01:53AM (#408942)

          Tell that to the government, which apparently wants to deny 'offensive', 'demeaning', and 'insulting' trademarks.