This case arose out of the Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to cancel the registration of the Washington football team’s trademark, “Redskins.” A federal district court in Northern Virginia upheld the PTO’s decision and the team has appealed to the Fourth Circuit. We joined with the National ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia in filing an amicus brief to the Fourth Circuit in this case, which presents the same question as Matal v. Tam: whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits registration of a mark that “may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute,” violates the First Amendment. After the Court ruled in Matal v. Tam that the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment, the Justice Department stopped defending the PTO’s application of the Act here.
Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse
March 6, 2015