'The Slants' Trademark Case Over 'Offensive' Name Could Directly Impact The Washington Redskins Controversy


International Business Times:

’The Slants’ Trademark Case Over ‘Offensive’ Name Could Directly Impact The Washington Redskins Controversy

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear the case of Oregon band “The Slants,” which is fighting to trademark its “offensive” name. The band’s request was declined after concerns were raised that its name is disparaging to Asian-Americans.The band, which mostly has Asian-American members, said that it wanted to “reappropriate” the meaning of the word and chose the name to take back the racial epithet. The Slants filed a lawsuit after their first attempt to register their band name in 2011 was rejected.
The Slants “was following in the long tradition of ‘reappropriation,’ in which members of minority groups have reclaimed terms that were once directed at them as insults and turned them outward as badges of pride,” a lawyer for bandleader Simon Tam reportedly said.
The court’s ruling in the case could have implications for the American football team, the Washington Redskins, whose six trademark registrations previously granted were canceled after years of complaints from Native American groups.

Lawyers for the Redskins have contended that the team’s name is merely a form of entertainment, and “stand on equal footing with those of The Lion King, Comedy Central, The Beatles, New York Times, New York City Ballet and Metropolitan Museum of Art.”
The Redskins have also urged the court to declare the law unconstitutional as its standards are unclear. The team questioned the law as the trademark office has given the green light to names such as Yellowman, Red Man and Black Tail.
“The countless offensive marks that the PTO (Patent and Trademark Office) has already registered — many within the last twelve months — suggests that the government’s interest is, at best, vastly overstated,” the football team reportedly said.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear The Slants’ case beginning next week and the hearings are expected to last several months. Its ruling in this case could directly impact the Washington Redskins case.

I dunno. There seems to me a difference between a group of Asian-Americans who call their band the Slants and Redskins case although making that a legal principle would require some tortured logic.
Here’s a legal analysis from WashPost.


I would not have guessed at all that there was a negative connotation to the word “slant”. :frowning:


The Skins make a good point about other names like Red Man chewing tobacco. Will be interesting.

Personally, if the band wants to use the name “The Slants,” I say let them. Perhaps it is years of seeing artwork and media mocking the Catholic faith that has made me unsympathetic to the small group who is bothered by the name Redskins.


Slanted eyes – slants. If I were Asian I’d be offended if someone called me that especially in a derogatory tone.


I didn’t get it either. It took me a while. Once I read ‘Asian’ I made the connection, but all by itself, I truly could not imagine how the word would be offensive. All I could do was think of slanted lines / / / / and think “what’s offensive about that?”

It really does give expression to the problem we have in this country that the government will be the political correctness gestapo at all costs and reason gets thrown out with the trash.

What’s next? Do we tell paint companies they can’t make ‘yellow’ anymore because that word has been used negatively?


I will look for the law to be overturned if ever challenged. I cannot see how this law can exist without limiting free speech.


This really is beyond silly.

First of all, the epithet “slants” is being protested by Native Americans, who are not called “Slants”. “Slants” is an epithet applied only to Asians. If Asians want to use it, why not?

But there are plenty of “protected” potentially offensive things. In some copyrighted rap music, the “N” word is practically every other word. Extreme misogynistic things are said in some. Surely Notre Dame’s “fighting Irishman” image is copyrighted. That’s a stereotyped image if ever there was one.


“Slant” and “slope” have been around forever as unpleasant words. No news here. I heard them when I was a kid (and I’m nearly 60 now).


Simon Tam is in a rock band?


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