New Cato podcast on Washington Redskins trademark ruling

by Walter Olson on June 20, 2014

Why should trademark law ban “disparagement” in first place? Caleb Brown interviews me on the Washington Redskins case for the Cato Daily Podcast. Earlier here.

David Post has a post at the Volokh Conspiracy laying out the unexpectedly complicated relationship between the federal Lanham Act and state trademark common law. And he presents the First Amendment problem with “disparagement” doctrine head on:

…the constitutional question is also, for me, pretty cut-and-dried; this is precisely the sort of thing the First Amendment prohibits: an agency of the federal government doling out benefits on the basis of whether or not you have used a word or phrase that is ‘disparaging,’ or that “bring into contempt, or disrepute” any “institutions, beliefs, or national symbols.” … [Whether my view of the matter is in tune with current doctrine is another question entirely]