Two Asian American group of lawyers are opposing a band’s fight to call themselves The Slants, reports The Recorder.
The Asian American rockers from Portland, Oregon applied to trademark their name, but the Patent and Trademark Office denied it on the grounds the name is a racial slur.
The Slants lead my musician Simon Tam, say they are trying to reclaim a stereotype and turn it into an affirmation of their ethnic pride.
Both AAPI legal organizations, The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C., have filed briefs opposing an appeal of the PTO decision. They say the PTO should not be required to “aid and abet [Tam] in imbuing the racial slur he chose as his mark with commercial value.”
The groups say if the trademark is approved, there would be no way for the PTO to disapprove names with a more malignant intent.
Tam responded on Twitter.
My email inbox is full of @NAPABA lawyers now asking “What Happened?!” since they thought the organization was supporting us
— Simon (Young) Tam (@SimonTheTam) July 28, 2015
The case is expected to be heard in the U.S. Court of Appeal October 2.
Native American groups are also weighing in on this issue. You can read about that in reports The Recorder..
(Note from the editor: Previous versions of this story incorrectly called this a patent fight. The Slants have applied for a trademark)