TMEP 1203.03(b): Disparagement, Bringing into Contempt, and Bringing into Disrepute

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1203.03(b)    Disparagement, Bringing into Contempt, and Bringing into Disrepute

Until June 19, 2017, the USPTO examined applications pursuant to the provision in Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C §1052(a), that prohibits the registration of a mark that consists of or comprises matter that may disparage, or bring into contempt or disrepute, persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols. However, the Supreme Court held this provision of §2(a) unconstitutional under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment in Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S. ___ (2017). Accordingly, that a mark may "disparage... or bring... into contempt, or disrepute" is no longer a valid ground on which to refuse registration or to cancel a registration.