“Members of the Asian-American rock band The Slants have the right to call themselves by a disparaging name, the Supreme Court says, in a ruling that could have broad impact on how the First Amendment is applied in other trademark cases.
The Slants’ frontman, Simon Tam, filed a lawsuit after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office kept the band from registering its name and rejected its appeal, citing the Lanham Act, which prohibits any trademark that could “disparage … or bring … into contemp[t] or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead,” as the court states.
After a federal court agreed with Tam and his band, the Patent and Trademark Office sued to avoid being compelled to register its name as a trademark. On Monday, the Supreme Court sided with The Slants.”
The Daily Show’s Ronny Chieng interviews The Slants to find out why the Asian American musicians went to the Supreme Court to fight for their right to use the racially insensitive band name – basically because of the principal. Personally, I agree with the Supreme Court ruling. I don’t necessarily agree with The Slants calling themselves The Slants, but they have the right to, according to the First Amendment and now with the Supreme Court ruling. Hopefully The Slants will be known more for their music, than the court ruling, since I’ve only heard of the band because of the Supreme Court case. – unlike Far East Movement, where I didn’t even know they were an Asian American band – only that they had a hit song, Like a G6.
EDITOR’S NOTE FROM JOZ:
Simon Tam of The Slants had previously written two guest posts at 8Asians about the subject:
Slanted Process: US Trademark Office Says Anyone (Except Asians) Can Trademark “The Slants” [2/23/2013] and Simon Tam of The Slants: “I am not the floodgate of racism that some think I am.” [8/4/2015]