Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Federal Circuit Denies Trademark Registration For "Stop the Islamisation of America"

In In re Geller, (Fed. Cir., May 13, 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the Trademark Office's refusal to register "Stop The Islamisation of America" as a trademark to be used in connection with understanding and preventing terrorism.  The appeals court agreed with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's conclusion that the phrase contains matter which may disparage a group of persons. Under 15 USC 1052(a), this is a basis for refusing registration. The court said in part:
The political meaning of Islamisation does not require violence or terrorism, and the Board properly found that associating peaceful political Islamisation with terrorism would be disparaging to a substantial composite of American Muslims.
Appellants in the case, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, are co-founders of the American Freedom Defense Initiative. [Thanks to How Appealing for the lead.]