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Supreme Court – government may not refuse to register potentially offensive names #makerbusiness

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Justices Strike Down Law Banning Disparaging Trademarks @ The New York Times.

“The danger of viewpoint discrimination,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote, “is that the government is attempting to remove certain ideas or perspectives from a broader debate. That danger is all the greater if the ideas or perspectives are ones a particular audience might think offensive, at least at first hearing.”

“To permit viewpoint discrimination in this context is to permit Government censorship,” Justice Kennedy wrote.

“If the federal registration of a trademark makes the mark government speech, the federal government is babbling prodigiously and incoherently,”

“It is saying many unseemly things. It is expressing contradictory views. It is unashamedly endorsing a vast array of commercial products and services. And it is providing Delphic advice to the consuming public.”

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Read more & PDF.


This is interesting, from how I understand it, the court said – look, if the gov gets in the business of needing to decide what is offensive for a trademark, it’s never going to work out.


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