Prohibition on immoral or scandalous trademarks violates First Amendment

The Supreme Court held in Iancu v. Brunetti that the Lanham Act’s prohibition on registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks violates  the First Amendment.  The USPTO had denied registration of “FUCT” in connection with artist and entrepreneur Erik Brunetti’s clothing line.  Following the Court’s recent Matal v. Tam decision invalidating the prohibition on registration of disparaging trademarks, the Court held that the “immoral or scandalous” prohibition is also unconstitutional because it also discriminates on the basis of viewpoint.  In a concurring opinion, Justice Alito notes that the decision “does not prevent Congress from adopting a more carefully focused statute that precludes the registration of marks containing vulgar terms….”

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