(credit: The Slants)

In December, a court case brought by Portland-based Asian American rock band “The Slants” led to what could be a major change in US trademark law.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overruled the US Patent and Trademark Office, which had refused to give the band a trademark, citing a law barring “disparaging” marks.
The battle isn’t quite over, though. Patent Office lawyers have appealed to the Supreme Court, asking them to consider the case.
If the Supreme Court takes up the case and reverses the Federal Circuit—something the high court has not hesitated to do in recent patent cases—the USPTO will retain its ability to quash disparaging trademarks.
Either way, the results of the case will have repercussions for other owners of controversial trademarks—most notably, the Washington Redskins.

The football team was stripped of its trademark rights after years of litigation but is continuing its fight at the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.
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