The Asian American rock band The Slants are playing a happy tune after winning a landmark first amendment case in the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling will allow the band to trademark its name after being rejected in 2011 by the U.S. Patent & Trademark office because some considered the name offensive.
“This journey has always been much bigger than our band: it’s been about the rights of all marginalized communities to determine what’s best for ourselves,” wrote band leader Simon Tam on Facebook.
For the band, its name is about defiantly turning disparaging language into a positive.
“For too long, people of color and the LGBTQ community have been prime targets under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, simply because we believe in the deliberate disarmament of toxic language and symbols,” said Tam.
“The disparagement clause violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion according to NPR. “Contrary to the Government’s contention, trademarks are private, not government speech.”
— SlantEyed Shawn (@SlantEyedShawn) June 19, 2017
But some opposed the 8 -0 decision fearing it will open up the trademark of other possibly offensive names such as the NFL’s Washington Redskins. The Slants have longed denied any connection between the two cases, but others clearly disagree.
“It seems this decision will indeed open the floodgates to applications for all sorts of potentially offensive and hateful marks,” said Lisa Simpson, an intellectual-property lawyer in New York said to the Washington Post
“I am THRILLED. Hail to the Redskins.” said team owner Daniel Snyder.
To celebrate our recent Supreme Court victory, we’re sharing the extended version of our new music video, “Level… https://t.co/OPFF3rBeNM
— The Slants (@theslants) June 19, 2017
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