January 4, 2019 / 8:12 PM / in 7 months

U.S. Supreme Court to hear challenge to ban on profane trademarks

WASHINGTON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether a federal law that blocks trademarks for brand names or logos bearing profane words or sexual imagery violates free speech rights in a case involving a clothing brand called “FUCT.”

The justices will hear the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s appeal of a lower court decision that the agency should have allowed fashion designer Erik Brunetti to trademark the “FUCT” brand name, which sounds like, but is spelled differently than, a profanity. At issue is a provision of U.S. trademark law that lets the trademark office deny requests for trademarks on “immoral” and “scandalous” words and symbols.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Lawrence Hurley

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