Supreme Court rules L.A. clothing maker can trademark ‘scandalous’ brand name

June 24, 2019Media Mention
Los Angeles Times

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Los Angeles clothing maker had a free-speech right to win trademark protection for his FUCT brand.

The court by a 6-3 vote struck down part of the Lanham Act of 1946 that covers trademarks and said the government could not reject a brand name because it viewed the words or messages as “scandalous” or “immoral.”

Lawyers who specialize in trademarks and free speech claims said the ruling might encourage more edgy or crude brand names, but they also said the marketplace would likely impose a kind of regulation.

“After a while, the novelty will wear off, and people might be offended. So I think the market will impose some caution on trademarks,” said Los Angeles lawyer Doug Mirell.