From our private database of 28,500+ case briefs...
In re Simon Shiao Tam
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
808 F.3d 1321 (2016)
In 2006, Simon Tam (plaintiff) began performing with a rock band under the name “The Slants.” Tam and his band members were Asian-American. The Slants wrote and performed music that highlighted Asian stereotypes, and they used their band name to show that they embraced these stereotypes with pride. In 2011, Tam filed an application with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to register the mark “THE SLANTS.” The PTO examiner rejected Tam’s application under § 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits the registration of marks that are immoral, deceptive, scandalous, or that disparage others. The examiner found that the term “slants” was historically a derogatory term that was still offensive to most Asians. Tam appealed to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (Board). The Board upheld the examiner’s rejection of Tam’s application, reasoning that THE SLANTS likely referred to people of Asian descent and evidence showed that many Asian individuals and groups objected to Tam’s use of the name. Tam appealed, arguing that § 2(a) was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech under the First Amendment. A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the Board’s ruling and applied binding precedent to affirm that § 2(a) did not implicate the First Amendment, let alone violate it. However, the Federal Circuit ordered a rehearing en banc to specifically consider whether § (2)(a)’s bar on registering disparaging marks violated the First Amendment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Moore, J.)
Concurrence (Dyk, J.)
Concurrence (O’Malley, J.)
Dissent (Reyna, J.)
Dissent (Lourie, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 545,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 545,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 28,500 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.