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American band win top court case over offensive trademark

A recent Washington Post poll found that 90 percent of 504 Native Americans surveyed nationwide did not think the Redskins name was offensive, and that likely had more sway on the opinions of undecided people than the Supreme Court ruling.Fundamentally, this somewhat unusual case brought by an Asian-American electronic-rock band shows that government can’t make you choose among your rights.In September 2016, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the similar case concerning The Slants, which indirectly was a win for the Redskins franchise on its own pending trademark battle. The clause reaches any trademark that disparages any person, group, or institution, and the Court views this as overly broad.”Stuart and Eugene are just terrific members of our team”, says Connell, a partner at the Archer law firm in Haddonfield, New Jersey, who reached out to the UCLA Law clinic after conducting a national search for attorneys who could bolster his case, which he argued at the Supreme Court in January.After the government rejected The Slants request, band frontman Simon Tam appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which in 2015 ruled that the so-called disparagement provision of the 1946 law governing trademarks ran afoul of the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech.’It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend, ‘ Alito wrote.One of the biggest winners of this decision is the Washington Redskins.”The Supreme Court vindicated the team’s position that the First Amendment blocks the government from denying or canceling a trademark registration based on the government’s opinion”, Blatt added in a statement.Tam said the band was “beyond humbled and thrilled” with the ruling. But the office canceled the registrations in 2014 after finding the name disparaged Native Americans. But the US Supreme Court has now decided in favour of The Slants. All eight Justices joined in part of the decision, with four offering a concurring opinion on part of it.Team owner Dan Snyder, a whiteskin, has refused to change the team name, even though doing so would probably result in millions of dollars in sales of new, non-offensive merchandise.The decision was expected to open the floodgates for offensive terms to be registered as trademarks in the US.Losing federal protection did not mean the team could no longer use the term “Redskins”. Their case was based off First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. And the justices managed to split 4-4 as to why that law is unconstitutional.