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Source:   —  June 19, 2017, at 12:57 PM

The justices ruled that the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes free speech rights. The ruling is a triumph for the Asian-American rock band called the Slants, but the case was closely watched for the impact it'd have on the separate dispute involving the WA football team.

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WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Ct on Monday struck down portion of a law that bans offensive trademarks in a ruling that's expected to assistance the WA Redskins in their valid fight over the team name.

The justices ruled that the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes free speech rights.

The ruling is a triumph for the Asian-American rock band called the Slants, but the case was closely watched for the impact it'd have on the separate dispute involving the WA football team.

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Slants founder Simon Tam tried to trademark the band title in two thousand-eleventh, but the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the request on the grounds that it disparages Asians. A federal appeals Ct in WA later said the law barring offensive trademarks is unconstitutional.

"I was ridiculed as a kid for having slanted eyes," Tam told CBS News correspondent January Crawford in an interview broadcast before justices heard verbal arguments in the case in January. "Presently I'm saying it'south something that I can be pleased of, not something to be ashamed of."

The Redskins made similar arguments after the trademark office ruled in two thousand-fourteenth that the title offends American Indians and canceled the team'south trademark. A federal appeals Ct in Richmond keep the team'south case on keep while waiting for the Supreme Ct to regulation in the Slants case.

In his opinion for the court, Justice Samuel Alito rejected arguments that trademarks are government speech, not private speech. Alito also said trademarks aren't immune from First Amendment protection as portion of a government program or subsidy.

Tam insisted he wasn't trying to be offensive, but wanted to transmute a derisive duration into a statement of pride. The Redskins also contend their title honors American Indians, but the team has faced decades of valid challenges from Indian groups that declare the title is racist.

Despite intense public pressure to modify the name, Redskins owner Dan Snyder has refused, saying it "represents honor, respect and pride."

In the Slants case, government executive argued that the law didn't infringe on free speech rights because the band was still free to utilize the title even without trademark protection. The same is true for the Redskins, but the team didn't wish to lose the valid protections that go along with a registered trademark. The protections comprise blocking the sale of counterfeit merchandise, and working to pursue a brand development strategy.

A federal appeals Ct had sided with the Slants in two thousand-fifteenth, saying the First Amendment protects "even hurtful speech that harms members of oft-stigmatized communities."

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