Tuesday, August 01, 2017

People are filing trademark applications for slurs with no commercial intent

Abbey White of Vox Media reports that people are filing trademark applications for symbols and “bad words” normally associated with racism or hate speech, after a US Supreme Court ruling in June regarding “The Slants”, story here June 20, new Vox story here.

The article says that it is not required that an approved mark go into immediate commercial use.  I had thought that this was required.  It would be a disturbing situation indeed if the ability to make money from a brand affected its approval in a contested case.  There is also a good question as to whether common words with political meaning (like my book series or something like Anderson Coopers “Keeping Them Honest”) ought to be recognized as a legitimate wordmark for trade, limiting who can use it to first-come or to the most economically powerful.  

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