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The Slants’ Battle Over Their Name Wages On

Loyal readers may remember back in October of 2013 we ran a post from Simon Tam of the band The Slants. They have been engaged in a long battle with the US Trademark Office to trademark the name of their band. But the US government, always sensitive as it is to perceived racial injustice, believes the name to be a racist slur. The backstory can be read here. This is an open letter Simon Tam has written to the US Trademark Office as their battle continues.

To the US Trademark Office:

Of all government departments, you should know that … Read more “The Slants’ Battle Over Their Name Wages On”

Guest Bloggers

Racism With a Twist: The Trademark Struggle Facing Asian American Band, The Slants

Four years ago, my band’s attorney suggested that we get a trademark on our band’s name. It’s pretty standard for bands to do – trademarks ensure that others don’t use the name, causing confusion in the marketplace. The job of the Trademark Office is to regulate the intellectual properties of businesses and artists. I never imagined that this relatively simple process would become a battle lasting four years and counting.

I started an all-Asian American dance rock band to empower people of color, celebrate our respective heritages, and of course, have an outlet for our artistic expression. Our band name

Read more “Racism With a Twist: The Trademark Struggle Facing Asian American Band, The Slants”

A New Slant on Hate Speech

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is refusing trademark protection to a Portland, Oregon based rock band called The Slants. Apparently, they believe the name the band is seeking to protect is disparaging to Asians.

When I first heard about this I wasn’t sure what to think. On one hand, it seems like a marker of progress that the U.S. government would deny trademark protection of a racial slur. But, on the other, this sounds like censorship, right?

Wrong. The fact that trademark protection is being denied doesn’t mean the group can’t use the name. This isn’t censorship. This … Read more “A New Slant on Hate Speech”