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Intellectual Property Litigation Trademarks United States Supreme Court

Supreme Court Holds Bar Against Registration of Immoral or Scandalous Marks Violates the First Amendment

Iancu v. Brunetti

The Supreme Court held the bar against registration of immoral or scandalous marks “collided” with well-established free speech doctrine, namely, that laws disadvantaging speech based on the views expressed thereby violate the First Amendment.


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Let’s face it. The Lanham Act’s prohibition against registration of “immoral … or scandalous marks” has had little impact on most trademark practitioners — except those lucky enough to have edgy clients or unlucky enough to have depraved ones. Scandals in the trademark world are simply hard to come by.

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