U.S. Constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham (Trademark) Act

Corporate LiveWire - Expert Guide: Intellectual Property Law
January 2017

On December 22, 2015, an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act (“Section 2(a)”), which states that a U.S. trademark may be refused registration on the principal register if it “consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage…,” is unconstitutional under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This decision provided a significant development in the ongoing debate about the role of Section 2(a) in U.S. trademark law.

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