When Eric Brunetti and Natas Kaupas started Fuct clothing in 1991, they likely did not anticipate a case involving the brand would be heard by the Supreme Court. This unlikely scenario is happening in a little over a month when the highest court in the land will decide whether the brand name violates America’s decency laws when it comes to trademarks. The century-old provision requires the Patent and Trademark office to deny applications for words that are deemed “scandalous” or “immoral.”
Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in his court filing that Congress does not want the federal government to “affirmatively promote the use of graphic sexual images and vulgar terms by granting them the benefits of registration.”
The administration also said the trademark law does not violate the First Amendment because it is not a restriction on offensive ideas. Instead it its aimed at an offensive means of expressing whatever thought the company wishes to convey, government lawyers say.
In response, Brunetti argued that if the justices uphold the trademark restriction, “state and local governments could effectively block unpopular organizations advancing controversial causes” thought to be scandalous to at least a portion of the public.
The case will be heard on April 15 with a decision slated to be issued by the end of June. You can read more about it in this article published this morning by NBC News.