Supreme Court Rules To Trademark The N-Word For Products, Merchandise, Etc

Last month, a supreme court ruling has opened the possibility for companies to trademark offensive terms such as the N-word.

Reuters reports, that about nine applications have been submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are pending for terms that have been considered offensive meaning they could see the N-word on beauty products, clothing, or even food items.

On June 19, the court threw out a federal law that prohibited offensive trademarking because it violated the free speech amendment.

According to Essence Magazine Justice Samuel Alito wrote for a unanimous court decision, “It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

Before this recent decision, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would reject applications that included offensive terminology.

Attorney David Bell, a trademark expert said, “We’re now opening the door, chipping away at what’s acceptable under cultural norms…I think it could be a slippery slope, where you get more people and companies thinking, ‘This is okay.’”

 – Contributed by Devyn Rorie

WHUR Contributor


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