Thursday, April 27, 2017

'It's a lot bigger than the band': The Slants challenge ruling rejecting trademark for their name; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 27, 2017

Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; 

'It's a lot bigger than the band': The Slants challenge ruling rejecting trademark for their name


[Kip Currier: Fascinating panel discussing Lee v. Tam case and broader issues of trademark law and free speech. The Slants performed after the panel. I spoke with the defendant, Simon Tam, who was a member of the panel and did a masterful job using "story" to make his points, and he insisted that the rest of the band sign the band poster I bought.]




"“I should be able to say what I want to say that my community doesn’t find offensive,” Mr. Tam said. “At the end of the day, it’s a lot bigger than the band.”

On Thursday, Mr. Tam and his bandmates — he describes their music as 80s-inspired synth pop — spoke at a panel discussion at Duquesne University before an evening performance. It’s part of a six-week tour that has hit clubs, law schools, intellectual property workshops and anime conferences.

The tour is to raise awareness of the ongoing court case, Lee v. Tam. In it, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appealed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which found in Mr. Tam’s favor in December 2015.

Mr. Tam’s original trademark application, made in 2009, was rejected because it was found to violate the Lanham Act, which prohibits a trademark if it “consists of matter which may disparage persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.”"

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