By Selena Motley
An Asian-American band is heading to the Supreme Court on a trademark case that alleges the use of racial slurs. The trademark embodies the bands own ethnic characteristic of slanted eyes. The group, which calls themselves The Slants, challenges the ban based on the First Amendment’s freedom of speech doctrine. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office found other people of Asian descent would find the trademark offensive.
Previously, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board rejected the trademark as disparaging under the Lanham Act. However, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overruled the Board’s decision that “The Slants” was a disparaging trademark and nullified a provision of the Lanham Act.
The decision from the Federal Appeals could possibly change the outcome for the trademark of the Washington Redskins.
There should be a distinction between “disparaging” trademarks taken on by individuals of a cultural and those that “disparage” on the terms based on cultural appropriation.