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Monday, 19 June 2017 20:16

Supreme Court Affirms Unconstitutionality of Trademark Disparagement Restriction

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Today in Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that the restriction on registration of disparaging marks violates the First Amendment's right of free speech. Justice Alito, writing for the majority, noted that the "vagueness of the disparagement test and the huge volume of applications has produced a haphazard record of enforcement" to date. Justice Kennedy, in a concurring opinion along with four other justices, noted that disparaging trademarks is "viewpoint discrimination" by the federal government. While the reasoning behind the decision is widespread, the immediate result is clear--the USPTO will begin to allow registration of disparaging marks and will no longer cancel any marks because they are disparaging. For the full case and opinion: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/15-1293_1o13.pdf.

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Tony Guo

As a specialized technology counsel, Tony supports his clients in the high tech, creative, and online industries. His primary areas of practice include intellectual property protection, Internet law, and startups. Tony is a USPTO registered patent attorney, as well as a licensed lawyer in California and Florida. He comes from a background involving considerable hardware and software development experience, having worked in both development and IT roles in the tech and finance industries.