U.S. Supreme Court weighs foul language trademarks

Daily News Article - April 15, 2019


1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.

2. Why did the U.S. Patent Office deny Mr. Brunetti a trademark for his brand?

3. On what grounds is Brunetti challenging the trademark law?

4. a) How long has the trademark law being challenged been on the books?
b) How does the Trump administration explain its challenge to the lower court’s ruling in favor of Brunetti? (What are its concerns? Why is it important to target vulgar material?) Be specific.
c) How did U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the Trump administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, explain the difference between the the trademark law on disparaging trademarks and the law on trademarks for immoral and scandalous words?

5. a) How did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit explain its ruling in 2017 on Brunetti’s case?
b) Do you agree with this reasoning? Explain your answer.

6. The trademark office said the brand would be perceived as the phonetic equivalent of the profanity, observing that Brunetti’s products contained sexual imagery, misogyny and violence. Brunetti dismisses that argument by saying, “That sounds to me like every movie that has come out over the last 40 years. Should we start regulating the entertainment industry then?”
The government has not attempted to regulate his product; the Trademark Office has only denied his request for a trademark based on the law as written.
Interesting that Reuters found it necessary to include a warning at the top of the article stating: “Editor’s note: contains language that some readers may find offensive…) - please note that StudentNewsDaily has edited some of this content
What do you think?

7. Consider the following:

a) What do you think: does he have a First Amendment right to be granted a U.S. trademark for what he sees as his “edgy, clever” brand? (Do you think he makes a reasonable argument for why he should be granted a trademark?) Explain your answer.
b) Do you think the government makes a reasonable argument for why he shouldn’t be granted a trademark? Explain your answer.