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6 Fed. Cir. B.J. 191 (1996)
Redskins and Scarlet Letters: Why "Immoral" and "Scandalous" Trademarks Should Be Federally Registrable

handle is hein.journals/fedcb6 and id is 197 raw text is: Redskins and Scarlet Letters: Why
Immoral and Scandalous
Trademarks Should Be Federally
Jendi B. Reiter*
I. Introduction
Federal registration of a trademark under the Lanham Act' confers several
important benefits on the trademark owner, such as nationwide protection,2
enhanced remedies against counterfeiters,3 and an evidentiary presumption
of trademark validity during litigation.4 Certain marks, because of their
nature, are denied access to these benefits. For instance, Section 2(a) of the
Lanham Act forbids registration of, inter alia, a mark which consists of or
comprises immoral . . . or scandalous matter or matter which may
disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national
symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute.' The immoral or
scandalous nature of a mark is also grounds for cancellation of a registered
mark even after it has become incontestable.'
A leading case on Section 2(a), In reMcGinley,7 held that the threshold
for objectionable matter is lower for what can be described as 'scandalous'
*Jendi B. Reiter received the second place award in the 1996 George Hutchinson Writing
Contest sponsored by the Federal Circuit Bar Association. Ms. Reiter was aJ.D. candidate at
Columbia Law School at the time she wrote the article.
'15 U.S.C. § 1051 etseq. (1988).
2 15 U.S.C. § 1057(c) (1988).
3 15 U.S.C. § 1124 (1988).
4 15 U.S.C. § 1057(b) (1988).
5 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a) (1988). This section also contains the ban on registration of
deceptive and fraudulent marks, with which this Artide is not concerned. References to
Section 2(a) refer to the quoted portion in the text accompanying this footnote.
615 U.S.C. § 1064(3) (1988).
7 660 F.2d 481 (C.C.P.A. 1981).

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