June 21, 2017In the News

DeMarte quoted in "Attorneys predict outcome of Washington Redskins' trademark spat"

Westlaw Journal

Michael Best Partner Luke DeMarte was quoted in Westlaw Journal's article, "Attorneys predict outcome of Washington Redskins' trademark spat" on June 21, 2017.

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision over federal registration of “The Slants” trademark has attorneys speculating over the future of the Washington Redskins football team’s trademarks, which were deemed unregistrable in Pro-Football Inc. v. Blackhorse et al., 112 F. Supp. 3d 439 (E.D. Va. 2015).

Pro-Football Inc., the holder of many “Redskins” marks, filed a certiorari petition in April 2016. The Supreme Court rejected the petition in October.  Pro-Football Inc. v. Blackhorse, No. 15-1311, cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 44 (Oct. 3, 2016)."

The justices opted instead to use Lee v. Tam, No. 15-1293, cert. granted, 137 S. Ct. 30 (Sept. 29, 2016), to address the constitutionality of the disparagement clause in Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1052(a).

For years, the PTO inconsistently invoked the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act to deny registration to marks which were considered disparaging. This decision will free the PTO from its impossible burden and bring some consistency to the examination process. In pop culture terms, everyone will remember this as the case that paved the way for the Redskins to keep their trademark registrations."

- Luke DeMarte, Michael Best, Chicago

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