Wednesday, January 18, 2017

In Battle Over Band Name, Supreme Court Considers Free Speech And Trademarks; NPR, 1/18/17

Nina Totenberg, NPR; 

In Battle Over Band Name, Supreme Court Considers Free Speech And Trademarks


""Vagueness means that a law doesn't give enough instruction to citizens on how to follow the law," Shapiro says. "What is disparaging? It depends on the particular trademark examiner you get, or the particular judge."

Tushnet replies that in a program with 500,000 applications for trademark registration each year, there will inevitably be some inconsistencies, just as there are in the judgments made under the other parts of the law. In each case, she observes, if you get turned down for a trademark registration, you can appeal within the agency. If you lose there, you can go to court.

But she adds that the trademark registration system has served the nation well.

"It's a complex system, and if you pull out a chunk of it without extreme care, you're going to upset the rest of the system."

And that, she says, could put the whole trademark system in jeopardy."

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