Last week saw the second trademark case of 2015 to make significant news. In March, the Supreme Court decided B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 1293 (2015) holding that proceedings at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) of the USPTO have a preclusive effect in later District Court actions when the proper conditions are met. Now the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) has held that the bar on registering disparaging marks in Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional, violating the first amendment protections for private speech. The full opinion in In re Simon Shiao Tam is here.

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