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Offensive Trademark Ban Going Down? It Probably Should

Publisher: Law360
September 29, 2016

Carrie Webb Olson, chair of Day Pitney's trademark practice group, was quoted in an article, "Offensive Trademark Ban Going Down? It Probably Should" in Law360. In the article, Olson discussed the importance of the U.S. Supreme Court recently granting certiorari to consider whether to strike down the federal government's ban on offensive trademarks. Olson said she hoped the justices would agree with the Federal Circuit, which declared the Lanham Act's ban on "disparaging" trademark registration violates the First Amendment. The government's defense against First Amendment accusations has been that denying someone a registration doesn't really cause them much harm.  Olson, however, said registration is important. "The USPTO seems to be taking the position that a registration is just a piece of paper with only a few small benefits, so losing it isn't that big of a deal," Olson said. "But it is a big deal. You're really a second-class citizen as an unregistered trademark owner."


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