UPDATE: The Supreme Court issued their opinion on the Slants case on June 19, 2017, saying the USPTO/Lanham Act was restrictive on free speech/First Amendment issues by denying the trademark application. This decision has implications for the Redskins football team, though the situations are different- the Slants band members are Asian-American. The Redskins are not American Indians, but merely the name of the team. Whether the Redskins can restore their previously trademarked name is yet to be decided. Can a word considered disparaging to race or culture be trademarked? A fashion design copyrighted? Two cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017 tell us much about the bounds of the First Amendment as it relates to intellectual property.
Aired on the Philadelphia CNN-affiliate Monday, February 20, "The American Law Journal" presents "Trademark, Copyright and Free Speech: The Slants Go to the 'Supremes'." Christopher Naughton welcomes Archer Law attorneys John Connell and Ronald Coleman who represented Simon Tam of The Slants and argued by Connell before the Supreme Court. Also joining the panel are intellectual property attorneys Lynn Rzonca of Ballard Spahr and Manny Pokotilow of Caesar Rivise.
In the opening feature report, The American Lawyer magazine executive editor Gina Passarella interviews the founding member of Blind Melon and Ballard Spahr attorney Rogers Stevens and trademark/copyright attorney Kelly Tillery of Pepper Hamilton.
In addition to the Lee v. Tam matter, the program examines copyright protection for the fashion industry now before the high court in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, as well as Paul McCartney's lawsuit against Sony/ATV Music Publishing to reclaim copyright interests in his songs. Program 1708.
The American Law Journal has been honored with three Emmy awards and eight nominations in 2015 & 2016 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-Atlantic Chapter.