Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sharing a trademark can cost you state funds (in Texas, at least)


Well, it can work to “your” disadvantage to have or use a particular trademark.

According to a New York Times editorial published today, Texas administrative law now bars state funds funneled through its Women’s Health Program to go to any entity that shares a “trademark” or business name with any organization that performs abortions.  This prevented funds from going to certain legally separate affiliates of Planned Parenthood.  The NYT says that “just talking about abortion counts as promoting it”.

The fight is in federal courts, and the Fifth Circuit unfortunately undid a lower court injunction to inhibit the Texas rule.

The idea that “talking about abortion” could be illegal has occurred before, in the part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that got struck down by the Supreme Court.

The New York Times editorial is here.  

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