The USPTO Urges the Federal Circuit to Reject a First Amendment Challenge to the Lanham Act

Takeaway: The USPTO is of the position that real name trademarks should not qualify for trademark registration.

The USPTO asked that the appeals court for the Federal Circuit uphold a provision barring registration of any trademark that identifies a “particular living individual.” This rule was used just last year to deny registration of the phrase “Trump Too Small.”

The applicant who applied to register the mark, referencing former President Donald Trump, argued that the rejection violated the First Amendment. The USPTO, however, stated that this case “involves a targeted effort to preclude federal registration that facilitates a particular type of commercial behavior that has already been banned by most states: appropriating another person’s name to market a product without consent and thus infringing on the right to publicity and the right to privacy,” and thus is not available for registration.