The Indian Law Section and the Intellectual Property Section
The University of Connecticut School of Law
Intellectual Property and Technology Law Society and
The Thomas F. Gallivan,
Jr. Chair in Real Property Law
Seminar Code: EIP160225
About the Program:
This program will be a primer on Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, specifically the prohibition on trademark registration for "immoral and scandalous matter" and "matter which may disparage." In the past year, quite a few decisions have come down from various courts around the nation on what, exactly, constitutes unregistrable "disparaging" trademarks, most notably the cancellation at the TTAB of the trademark for the Washington Redskins. This program will explore these issues, going into the substantive and procedural aspects of refusal and cancellation of registration on these bases, will delve into the First Amendment aspects of the issue in light of the Federal Circuit's decision in In Re Tam, and will conclude with a brief discussion of movements outside the law to move away from "hostile and abusive" sports nicknames at both the high school and college levels.
Who Should Attend:
Anyone interested in trademark law or sports, media, and entertainment law will appreciate this program. Also, those interested in Federal Indian Law should attend, as the catalyst for these issues, the Redskins cancellation decision, resulted from the prosecution of a cancellation petition by Native American individuals.
You Will Learn:
- Attendees will learn about why Section 2(a) is contained in the Lanham Act
- What types of trademarks have been (and would be) refused under the "immoral, scandalous and disparaging matter" bar to registration
- Why trademark registration is important anyway
- How this issue impacts Federal Indian Law
- Attendees will learn about the First Amendment as it relates to this interesting branch of IP law
Nike Agman, Law Office of Nike V. Agman, East Berlin
Daniel Cooper, Cooper & Kurz, Stamford
Bethany Berger, Jr., Professor of Real Property Law, UConn School of Law, Hartford
Daniel Klau, McElroy Deutsch Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP, Hartford
Willajeanne McLean, Professor of Law, UConn School of Law, Hartford
1. Immoral and scandalous matter - What constitutes scandalous matter? How does the PTO decide what is scandalous or immoral? Why should we, as a trademark registration system, be barring individuals and companies from registration of marks that some may find offensive?
2. Disparaging Matter - What is meant by "matter which may disparage?" We will consider the law around disparaging matter, including Pro Football v. Harjo, and the current Redskins case, Pro Football v. Blackhorse.
3. Movements Against Hostile/Abusive Nicknames in Sports in General - Discussion of the"extra-judicial" movements against hostile and abusive nicknames in sports: (a) NCAA regulations and enforcement against such nicknames (North Dakota, St. John's, etc.); (b) Criticism of Indians and Braves mascots, etc.; (3) Changing landscape of nicknames for high school sports
4. Other Topics - Do the Redskins have a case that their free speech rights are being damaged? Are we targeting Native American-referenced nicknames and not others that may be hostile/abusive (like, say, the "Fightin Irish")? What about when the joke is turned on the prejudiced, as in In re Tam? Should there be an objective or subjective standard for disparagement?
Cost: Free (Includes a light supper)