FFS! US Supreme Court strikes down law banning bad language trademarks
A ban on trademarks of “immoral” or “scandalous” words and symbols has been struck down by the US Supreme Court in a case involving a clothing brand with a sensitive name.
Ruling against the Trump administration, the court found for Los Angeles streetwear designer Erik Brunetti who had failed in an attempt to trademark his brand name: “FUCT”.
All nine of the court’s justices agreed in the decision written by Justice Elena Kagan that the prohibition ran contrary to the Constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of expression.
Three justices, however, wrote dissenting pieces to say the bar on “scandalous” trademarks should be upheld.
FUCT was rejected in 2011, with the Patent and Trademark Office noting that the name sounds similar to the preterite of a common profanity.
“There are a great many immoral and scandalous ideas in the world (even more than there are swear words),” wrote Justice Kagan in yesterday’s decision. She added that the trademark law covers all of them.
“It therefore violates the First Amendment.”
Mr Brunetti’s lawyer John Sommer said: “Today is a good day for Americans.
“The US Supreme Court has taken the government out of the business of deciding questions of morality.”