Opposing Angles: Trademark Law and the First Amendment

Opposing Angles: Trademark Law and the First Amendment


Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 5:00pm


Room 229 at UNH School of Law

Watch the Recording

Presented by the Sports & Entertainment Law Society

Currently before the U.S. Supreme Court is Lee v. Tam, a case about the intersection of trademark law and free speech. Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act provides that no registration shall issue for any trademark that is “disparaging.” An Asian rock band, The Slants, has been battling the government to register THE SLANTS mark for more than 7 years—culminating in Lee v. Tam. Similarly, the NFL’s Redskins have been in litigation over their marks for more than 25 years. This panel will focus on whether Section 2(a)’s “disparagement” provision is Constitutional in light of the First Amendment’s Free Speech provision. Additionally, the panel will provide context for the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute's "Concert and Conversation with Simon Tam and the Slants" event on Monday, April 24, 2017. 

Panelists will include:

Kevin Blackistone, ESPN Commentator and Professor of Journalism 

Marc Randazza, First Amendment Attorney and Commentator on CNN and Fox News (Amici in Lee v. Tam) 

Alexandra Roberts, Trademark and Entertainment Law Professor 

Peter Foley, IP Issues in Sports & Entertainment Law Adjunct Professor 

Moderated by Professor Roger Ford