Moskin Discusses SCOTUS Decision on Scandalous Trademarks

26 June 2019 Managing Intellectual Property News

Partner Jonathan Moskin was quoted in the Managing Intellectual Property article, “Scandalous Trademarks: Why SCOTUS Ruling May Lack Bite,” about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Iancu v Brunetti which held that the the Lanham Act’s bar on registering immoral or scandalous trademarks violates the First Amendment.

While there is a small backlog of scandalous marks to be registered, Moskin said that he doubts that many will pass muster at the USPTO. For the same reason that viewpoints may not be banned under the First Amendment, most viewpoint-based expressions are merely ornamental, but fail to fulfil the main purpose of trademarks – to indicate source. For this reason, Moskin says, “this and most other such claimed marks likely still may not be entitled to protection.”

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