The justices said Thursday they will take up a case involving swipe fees that merchants must pay to the credit-card issuer each time a customer charges a purchase.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office nonetheless refused to register the trademark after concluding the name was disparaging to a substantial number of people of Asian ancestry.
Lawyers for bandleader Simon Tam argued that in choosing the name The Slants in 2006, he "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".
The appeal is one of eight cases the court added to its docket for the 2016-17 term that begins Monday.
"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.
An Oregon band's bid for the right to trademark their "offensive" name has reached the US Supreme Court.
First, it could affect a far better known (or more notorious) name in entertainment: the Washington Redskins.
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The justices' decision will immediately resolve the Redskins' own trademark troubles.
The Justice Department appealed to the Supreme Court and argued that awarding a trademark is a government benefit, not a limit on private speech.
The government contends the name might disparage or offend people. The case is now awaiting hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond. The band's leader, Simon Tam, sued on First Amendment grounds. The Federal Circuit certainly thinks so, as does the ACLU: Its attorneys have defended the Slants in court and criticized the USPTO's cancellation of the Redskins trademark as a threat to free speech.
The government on behalf of USPTO Director Michelle Lee chose to seek the Supreme Court's review on the question of whether the disparagement provision is facially invalid under the free speech clause of the First Amendment - and now, it's got it.
"The Slants are and always will be a voice for the next generation of Asian-American musicians, artists, and actors", it said on the website.
The case before the Supreme Court involves a challenge to the law by several businesses in NY, including a hair salon and an ice cream parlor.
The cases in the Supreme Court of the United States are Michelle K. Lee v. Simon Shiao Tam, No. 15-1293, and Pro-Football, Inc v. Amanda Blackhorse et al, No. 15-1874. In the Colorado case, a federal appeals court ruled that a modest benefit to the boy was sufficient and that no tuition reimbursement was warranted.