Section Calendar of Meetings and Events
VSB IP Section - Annual Meeting Luncheon
June 16, 2017
Please join the IP Section Board for a section luncheon during the Annual Meeting. During the luncheon we will have our annual business meeting, including voting on new officers and board members.
When: Friday, June 17, 2017 at 11:45 AM - 1:15 PM
Location: Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel
VSB Annual Meeting - IP Section CLE
June 16, 2017
Redskins, Slants, and Other Disparaging Trademarks: The Supreme Court Decision on the Intersection of Trademark Law and the First Amendment
Friday, June 16, 2017 (8:30 AM - 10:00 AM)
Location: Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Sponsor: Intellectual Property Section
MCLE Credit: 1.5 Hours
Litigation related to the alleged disparaging nature of the Washington Redskins trademark has been going on for more than 25 years. In the most recent case, filed over 10 years ago, Amanda Blackhorse and several other Native Americans petitioned the USPTO to cancel the trademark registration because the term is disparaging to Native Americans. In 2014, the USPTO ruled that the registrations should indeed be canceled, and in 2015, District Judge Bruce Lee affirmed that decision. The case is currently pending on appeal at the Fourth Circuit.
Meanwhile, in 2011, Simon Tam, founder of the all Asian-American rock band The Slants, filed a trademark application to register the name of the band. The USPTO rejected the registration as being disparaging to persons of Asian descent. On appeal, the Federal Circuit held the section of the Lanham Act prohibiting registration of disparaging marks to be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The USPTO petitioned for cert, which was granted, and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide the appeal during the October 2016 Term.
John C. Connell – Archer, Haddonfield, NJ
Ronald D. Coleman - Archer, Haddonfield, NJ
Mr. Connell and Mr. Coleman are lead counsel for Simon Tam in Lee v. Tam, currently pending at the U.S. Supreme Court, otherwise known as the Slants case.
Jesse A. Witten - Drinker Biddle, Washington, DC
Mr. Witten is counsel of record for Amanda Blackhorse and the other Native American individuals in Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc., otherwise known as the Redskins case.
Moderator: Laura A. Heymann, Williamsburg, VA
Prof. Heymann is Vice Dean and Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School where she teaches Trademark Law and Copyright Law, among other classes. She is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Intellectual Property Section of the Virginia State Bar.