A PC Slant


 

This story in the Northwest Asian Weekly about the trademark registration woes of a rock band called The Slants may sound familiar to people who follow such things:

The Slants, whose members are of Asian descent, have amassed fans nationwide, taking the stage at dive bars, Asian festivals, anime conventions, and even serving on panels to discuss racial stereotypes.

But behind the scenes, the band is fighting a battle with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The office has twice denied The Slants’ request to obtain federal trademark registration of its name, or “service mark,” on the grounds that it is “disparaging to people of Asian ethnicity.”

The band denies that its name is offensive to Asians and is preparing to file a second appeal.

Good luck with that, fellows. I’ve addressed this issue before in the context of such charming would-be trademark registrations such as HEEB and NIGGA, rejected as scandalous and offensive by the same PTO that granted that coveted registration status to such fabulous acts as, uh, this and this, and this.  And, of course, this.

All those thisses have to do with alternative lifestyles, once considered highly scandalous but now quite socially acceptable.  Ah, but nicknames to describe those who so alternate?  Perfectly fine when adopted by the object of former derision with “pride.”

That rule, however, does not apply to ethnic groups.  As I said in the above-linked posts regarding the HEEB and NIGGA applications, racism remains the third rail of American bureaucratic practice — ironic self-descriptive pride notwithstanding.

Is there any good policy reason behind this?  Or is it, as I suggested in the NIGGA post, merely a way to avoid even having to read, much less type out, the word “nigger” in a government building near Washington, DC?

That is not a good reason.

Hat tip to Reid Wilson via this tweet.

Originally posted  April 7, 2011 on Ron Coleman’s LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® blog on trademark, copyright and Internet law.

Related Articles

55

Kansas Legislature Passes Anti-Sharia Law, The Big Meanies

There’s only one problem with the narrative going around the Left-O-Sphere that Kansas is now a bunch of Islamophobes: the

0

Judge Cuts Sentence by 15 Years, Claimed Child Rapist Didn’t Mean to Hurt 3-Year-Old Victim

Does it matter to you if a rapist “doesn’t mean to hurt” his 3-year-old victim while he was raping the

0

A Bus Driver Sees A Little Boy Crying And Identifies Him By The Shoes He’s Wearing [Video]

That bus driver is really a hero. He did his homework by listening to police reports and then paid attention.

comments

Share This

Share this post with your friends!