Trade Marks and Cultural Identity
(Forthcoming) G Austin, A Christie, A Kenyon and M Richardson (eds.) Interconnected Intellectual Property, Cambridge University Press 2019
12 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2019 Last revised: 18 Oct 2019
Date Written: September 20, 2019
In a 2017 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that constitutional commitments to free expression barred the Patent and Trademark Office from rejecting the registration of “The Slants” for an Asian rock band, even though the term is understood to disparage Asians. Because we do not agree with the Court’s view that true speech can always correct false speech, we argue that the US can learn from the ways in which New Zealand trademark jurisprudence protects cultural integrity while ensuring free speech. In so doing, we follow Sam Ricketson’s admonition that common law jurisdictions learn from one another.
Keywords: Trademarks, Registration, Free Speech, Disparagement, Cultural Identity, Māori Signs
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