Lanham Act Section 2(a) : CAFC Alert

The USPTO cannot refuse registration of immoral or scandalous marks

| January 31, 2018

In re Erik Brunetti

December 15, 2017

Before: Dyk, Moore, Stoll.  Opinion by Moore; Concurring opinion by Dyk


The §2(a) bar on registration of immoral or scandalous marks violates First Amendment.  While the CAFC opinion finds the use of immoral or scandalous marks in commerce to be discomforting, the First Amendment protects private expressions, including those that may be offensive.  In this instance, the government does not have substantial interest that would justify its suppression of immoral or scandalous trademarks.

Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (2017)において、ランハム法第2(a)条に基づき、最高裁が誹謗的(disparagement)な商標を拒絶することは憲法違反であると判断したのと同様に、米国特許商標庁が、ランハム法第2(a)条に基づき、不道徳的又は中傷的(immoral or scandalous)な商標を拒絶することは、憲法修正第1条違反であるとCAFCは判決を下した。

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