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Administrative Law Constitutional Law Intellectual Property Litigation Trademarks

Federal Circuit Holds Scandalous or Immoral Marks Entitled to Registration

Refusal Is an Unconstitutional Violation of Free Speech

On Dec. 15, 2017, a unanimous Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that despite Appellant’s mark comprising “immoral or scandalous” matter, the PTO could no longer refuse federal registration of such marks on the grounds that this refusal violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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On Dec. 15, 2017, a unanimous Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that despite Appellant’s mark comprising “immoral or scandalous” matter under 15 U.S.C. 1052(a) (Section 2(a)), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) could no longer refuse federal registration of such marks on the grounds that this refusal violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. See, In Re: Erik Brunetti, 15-1109.

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