Amici are scholars at U.S. law schools whose research and teaching focus is intellectual property law, federal Indian law and constitutional law. Amici are concerned that the Court of Appeals decision below is inconsistent with the well settled law that laches does not apply to trademark cancellation claims, including those based on disparagement, because of the strong public interest in being free from the harms that disparagement causes.
These harms, which include damaging stereotyping and stigmatization, are serious and deserve protection no matter what private harm may be caused by delay to the trademark registrant. Further, precluding laches in these cases protects the government’s interest in assuring the integrity of the Trademark Register. Amici urge this Court to grant review of this matter to clarify that laches cannot apply to a disparagement cancellation claim. Such a ruling will increase certainty for trademark holders, individuals and groups claiming or subject to disparagement, and promote the larger public interest inherent in these claims.
Phillips, Victoria and Christine Haight-Farley. Brief of Law Professors as Amici Curiae in Support of the Petitioners, Harjo v. Pro-Football Inc., No. 09-326 (United States Court of Appeals for the District Of Columbia, filed Oct. 16, 2009).