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Danielle Johnson quoted in World IP Review on Supreme Court ruling on "scandalous trademarks"

June 25, 2019

Danielle Johnson, an associate in the firm's Intellectual Property group, was quoted recently in a World IP Review article on the Supreme Court's June 24th decision overturning the ban on scandalous and disparaging trademarks. In Iancu v. Brunetti the court sided with Erik Brunetti, owner of streetwear brand Fuct, and found that section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.

Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the court, in which Justices Ginsburg, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh joined. Justices Roberts and Breyer filed opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part, and Justice Sotomayor filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, which Breyer also joined.

According to Ms. Johnson, the court “got this right” by overturning the ban, which she said “has resulted in many instances of viewpoint discrimination by the USPTO over the years”. Johnson also praised the majority decision for refusing to engage in what it called “statutory surgery”, by limiting the meaning of scandalous to only refer to vulgarity, obscenity, or profanity. Justice Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion argued that such an interpretation could be permissibly viewpoint neutral, Johnson said.

To read the full article please click here.

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