Date: June 25, 2019Attorney: Joel G. MacMull

The Supreme Court issued its decision in Iancu v. Brunetti yesterday almost two years to the day after its landmark ruling in Matal v. Tam, the latter which our Intellectual Property team of Ronald Coleman and Joel MacMull served time as lead counsel on.

According to MacMull, Brunetti involved the applicant’s effort to register the trademark FUCT for clothing. Needless to say, his efforts to convince the PTO that his mark was an acronym for "Friends You Can’t Trust" didn’t get much traction before the TTAB. Brunetti evidently abandoned this argument before the Court of Appeals, where, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Tam, he could let it all hang out.

Yesterday’s decision says MacMull not surprisingly, also struck down Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act’s "scandalous and immoral" bar to trademark registration, holding that the statute’s language was also viewpoint discriminatory just as it held the disparagement provision to be in Tam. So why did the Court take the case if it spoke on the subject just two terms ago? The answer lies on page 3 of Justice Kagan’s opinion: "As usual when a lower court has invalidated a federal statute, we granted certiorari." Read more here: