Lisa Simpson Provides Media Insights On Major U.S. Supreme Court Trademark Ruling

June.20.2017

Orrick partner Lisa Simpson provided commentary this week to a wide range of publications on the U.S. Supreme Court’s much-anticipated ruling in Matal v. Tam, which established that the disparagement clause of federal trademark law violates the First Amendment. Lisa, a partner in the firm’s Intellectual Property Group and a member of Orrick’s Management committee, spoke to The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The National Law Journal on the impact of the ruling.

In The Wall Street Journal, Lisa noted that the decision in a case involving an Asian-American rock band called “The Slants” could lead to a surge in applications for potentially offensive trademarks, while shifting more responsibility to consumers. “While it seems much damage can be done in the interim, it does seem that this is how the First Amendment was intended to work — by fostering and supporting public debate and empowering the public to tell companies and other entities what is acceptable commercial activity and what is not,” she told the publication.

The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The National Law Journal included Lisa’s observations about the likelihood of more offensive trademarks being registered in the wake of the decision. “It seems this decision will indeed open the floodgates to applications for all sorts of potentially offensive and hateful marks,” she said. “While this may be right under the 1st Amendment, it seems the responsibility will now pass to the public. And so it will be up to consumers to reject the most hateful of these marks and slogans.”