Which means people can’t go after the Redskins.
Via Daily Caller:
The Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning the registration of disparaging trademarks Monday, finding the law violates the First Amendment’s free speech clause.
The ruling, written by Justice Samuel Alito, says that trademarks are private, not government speech, and that the government may not curtail even offensive expression.
“Holding that the registration of a trademark converts the mark into government speech would constitute a huge and dangerous extension of the government-speech doctrine, for other systems of government registration (such as copyright) could easily be characterized in the same way,” Alito wrote.
The 1946 Lanham Trademark Act prohibits the registration of a trademark that “may disparage” a person, community, or institution. A challenge to the law was brought by Simon Shiao Tam, bass-player for the Chinatown dance rock band “The Slants.” The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) denied the band’s request for a trademark, finding their name could offend Asians. The band is composed exclusively of Asian-Americans, who selected the name to strip the slur of its potency.