Symposium: Free speech comes to trademark law

Document Type


Publication Date

June 2017


Discussing Matal v. Tam Excerpt: "But what should the PTO do with applications for marks that are “scandalous” or “immoral,” as both categories are also barred registration by the Lanham Act? Although the court was silent as to these bars, there may not be any way to distinguish them from the provision at issue in Tam. This lingering question was to be expected because the court does not pronounce on issues that are not before it. The court’s opinion, however, raises a far more fundamental question: What is the relationship between the First Amendment and trademark law?"