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Intellectual Property Blog

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Supreme Court Holds under First Amendment that Offensive, Disparaging Words Can Be Granted Trademark Protection

Lately there has been a growing tension between certain trademark applicants and a provision of the 1946 Lanham Act, which governs protection of trademarks. This clause gives the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ( the “PTO”) the power to deny registration of any “immoral. . . scandalous” trademark, or one that may “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contempt or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead.” 15 U. S. C. §1052(a). For some time now, this issue has been in the spotlight with a lengthy legal dispute over whether the PTO must cancel the “Washington Redskins” trademarks registered to the National Football League team of that name, because the term “redskins” is disparaging of Native Americans. In the latest ruling, the PTO canceled the Redskins trademark registrations, and that ruling is currently on appeal.  A recent decision by the Supreme Court, however, may change everything. More >

No More Audit Anxiety: Why an Intellectual Property Audit is Nothing to Fear

Your employment attorney has been advising you that you need to audit your independent contractors and overtime-exempt employees to comply with new rules, while your accountant has been working with you to help avoid audits by the IRS. The word “audit” might as well be spelled with four letters. We all know that “audit” is a loaded term, striking fear in the hearts of battle-scarred survivors of audits gone by. There’s one more audit that you probably haven’t heard much about, however, and this one is vital in the ceaseless march to build and protect your brand: The intellectual property audit. More >

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