Ipse Dixit


Lisa Ramsey on Trademark Law & the First Amendment

Season 1, Ep. 298

In this episode, Lisa P. Ramsey, Professor of Law at University of San Diego School of Law, discusses her article "Free Speech Challenges to Trademark Law After Matal v. Tam," and her work on "nontraditional marks." Ramsey begins by describing what trademarks are, what trademark law can protect, and how the trademark registration process works. She explains how the Trademark Office used to refuse to register disparaging, immoral, and scandalous marks on statutory grounds, until the Supreme Court found those exclusions unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination in Matal v. Tam (2017) and Iancu v. Brunetti (2019). Ramsey reflects on the meaning of the Supreme Court's application of First Amendment protections to trademark registration, and how it could cascade through the trademark doctrine, affecting other areas of trademark law, including dilution and "inherently valuable expression." Ramsey is on Twitter at @LPRamsey.

This episode was hosted by Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Frye is on Twitter at @brianlfrye.

More Episodes