NON-REGISTERABLE SUBJECT MATTER: DISPARAGING MARKS

January 15, 2015

Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act provides that the USPTO may refuse an application when the trademark “[c]onsists of or comprises ... matter which may disparage ... persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a).

The court’s determination of whether a mark is disparaging in violation of section 2(a) of the Trademark Action involves a two prong analysis.  The first prong of the disparagement test determines “the likely meaning of the matter in question.”  The second prong of the disparagement inquiry asks whether the likely meaning identified in prong one “is found to refer to identifiable persons, institutions, beliefs or national symbols,” and if so, whether that meaning “may be disparaging to a substantial composite of the referenced group.” In re Lebanese Arak Corp., 94 U.S.P.Q.2d at 1217.

In the recent case of In re Geller, 751 F. 3d 1355 (Fed. Cir. 2014) The Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (“TTAB”) refusal to register the mark STOP THE ISLAMISATION OF AMERICA in connection with “[p]roviding information regarding understanding and preventing terrorism.”  The Federal Circuit affirmed the TTAB’s finding that the mark contained matter that was likely to be disparaging to members of the Muslim religion in violation of section 2(a) of the Trademark Act.

If you have any questions regarding the potential registerability of your trademark or have any questions regarding patents, trademarks, and copyright law, please feel free to contact our office at 305.921.9326 to setup a consultation.

Trademark Law

TrademarkLawMiami

A trademark is a brand name.  A trademark or service mark includes any word, name...

read more

Copyright law

copyrightLawMiami

Copyrights are a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States...

read more

Patent Law Services

PatentLawMiami

A patent is an intellectual property right granted by the Government...

read more

FDA Compliance

TrademarkLawMiami

The FDA regulates products responsible for about 25 percent of the gross national product...

read more

Business Law

TrademarkLawMiami

The attorneys at Rick Ruz, PLLC pride themselves on catering to the complete needs...

read more

Office Map


View Larger Map

Office Contact

Ruz & Ruz, PL
300 Sevilla Avenue, Suite 301
Coral Gables, Florida 33134
(P) 1 (305) 921-9326
(F) 1 (888) 506-2833