Published October 3, 2016
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday, October 3, 2016 it will not hear an appeal from the Washington NFL team that is attempting to challenge a law that forbids offensive trademarks.
While the team currently has an appeal pending in the U.S Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia that stems from the its cancellation by the Patent, the team wanted the Supreme Court to intervene. The high court rarely intervenes during the appeal process.
However, the trademark issue may be settled when the Supreme Court decides on a case it announced last week it will hear this session on whether the trademark law violates the First Amendment.
The case the court will hear will determine whether part of the 1946 Lanham Trademark Act that prohibits registration of a trademark that “may disparage” persons violates the First Amendment. An appeals court has already ruled it does. as an appeals court has ruled.
The case involves a lawsuit brought by Simon Shiao Tam, who has a Asian American rock band called The Slants. Tam was refused registration of the name by the U.S. Office of Patent and Trademark Office when he tried to register the band’s trademark.