The Girl Scouts are suing the Boy Scouts. As part of their”gender-inclusive” programming, the Boy Scouts have change their name to Scouts BSA. The Girl Scouts have filed suit over trademark concerns, contending in the suit that the Boy Scouts’ rebranding would be “uniquely damaging” to Girl Scout operations. The Girl Scouts claim in the filing that the Boy Scouts’ gender-inclusive rebranding has led to “rampant” confusion among parents who are unsure which organization their children should join.
I think so, Brain … but Instagram should have been reserved as the trademark for a medical marijuana dealer.
Following along the course set in Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court has ruled in Iancu v. Brunetti that the Lanham Act’s prohibition on registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks violates the First Amendment.
Justice Kagan wrote the decision which was joined by Thomas, Ginsburg, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. Alito wrote a concurring opinion. Roberts and Breyer filed opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part. Sotomayor filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part which Breyer joined.
UPDATE—From today’s opinion:
The government may not discriminate against speech based on the ideas or opinions it conveys.
UPDATE 2—Justice Alito, concurring:
But in many countries with constitutions or legal traditions that claim to protect freedom of speech, serious viewpoint discrimination is now tolerated, and such discrimination has become increasingly prevalent in this country. At a time when free speech is under attack, it is especially important for this Court to remain firm on the principle that the First Amendment does not tolerate viewpoint discrimination.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled that the provisions of the Lanham Act which permits the Patent and Trademark Office to decline to register “disparaging” trademarks is unconstitutional. The case, In Re Tam, was argued for the appellant by Ron Coleman. Ron is also representing Patterico in the Kimberlin v. Frey RICO Remnant LOLsuit.
Here’s the court’s ruling—
BTW, this is the same provision of the Lanham Act that was used to revoke the Redskins trademark.
The Lanham Act is a part of federal law dealing with protection of trademarks.
15 U.S.C. § 1125 – False designations of origin, false descriptions, and dilution forbidden
(a) Civil action
(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which—
(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or
(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person’s goods, services, or commercial activities,
shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.
For example, if I were to start running a website called carrollcountyexaminer dot com. I’d expect to get sued because the examiner dot com has a carroll county site already.
Over the past weekend, Breitbart Unmasked (No, I won’t link to it) published a series of documents related to The Dread Pirate Kimberlin’s attempt to take over several entities associated with Ali Akbar. This particular document caught my eye.
Why would Velvet Revolution US be interested in having an interest in a business called Pundit Syndication, LLC? What would it do with such a trade name? And who are the other members of the limited liability company beside VRUS?
I directed those questions to Jeffrey Cohen, the Executive Director of VRUS. (Mr. Cohen is a lawyer who practices in the area of trademarks and related intellectual property.) I have not, as yet, had a response.