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Supreme Court Allows 'Immoral' Trademarks

It's a victory for founder of clothing company FUCT
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2019 10:55 AM CDT
In this April 11, 2019, file photo, Erik Brunetti, founder of the streetwear clothing company FUCT, poses for a photo.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – FUCT wins. The clothing company can trademark its name, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, reports Reuters. Founder Erik Brunetti tried to do so back in 2011, but the trademark office turned him down under an old provision that blocked "scandalous" or "immoral" names. But in her majority opinion Monday, Justice Elena Kagan declared that the "'immoral or scandalous' bar is substantially overbroad," per the AP. The 6-3 decision opens the door for other dicey names or even graphic images to win trademark protection. Dissenting were Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, reports USA Today.

"The First Amendment does not allow the government to penalize views just because many people, whether rightly or wrongly, see them as offensive," Kagan said from the bench Monday. Roberts disagreed: "Refusing registration to obscene, vulgar, or profane marks does not offend the First Amendment," he said. "The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech; it does not require the government to give aid and comfort to those using obscene, vulgar, and profane modes of expression." Brunetti's company has been around 30 years, and he wants to prevent counterfeiters. The acronym, he says, stands for Friends U Can't Trust. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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