Redskins, rock band battle government in trademark fight
WASHINGTON » Simon Tam has openly criticized the Washington Redskins team name as a racist slur that demeans Native Americans.
But Tam and his Asian-American rock band, The Slants, find themselves on the same side as the NFL franchise in a First Amendment legal battle over trademark protection for names that some consider offensive.
The Supreme Court could decide as early as this month whether to hear the dispute involving the Portland, Oregon-area band. And if the football team has its way, the justices could hear both cases in its new term.
At issue is a constitutional challenge to a law barring the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from registering trademarks that disparage minority groups. The office denied a trademark to the Slants in 2011 after finding the name disparaged people of Asian descent.