Supreme Court rules the government can’t refuse to register trademarks considered offensive

The Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional the federal government’s practice of refusing to register trademarks that officials deem to be offensive.

The justices ruled in favor of Simon Tam, the front man for an all-Asian-American rock band known as “The Slants.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had refused to register the name, citing a law that denied trademarks that disparage individuals, institutions, beliefs or national symbols.

The result in the closely-watched case could doom legal challenges to other trademarks many consider offensive, such as that for the Washington Redskins football team.

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