California man challenges federal law refusing ‘immoral’ trademark for clothing brand
Los Angeles artist Erik Brunetti, founder of the streetwear clothing company "F—," (rhymes with "duct") poses for a photo in Los Angeles Thursday, April, 11, 2019. (Associated Press)
A California man whose company carries a provocative name is hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule against a trademark law that he says restricts his First Amendment rights.
A lawyer for Erik Brunetti, owner of the “F—” clothing brand (rhymes with "duct"), will appear before the Supreme Court on Monday to challenge a federal trademarking law that allows officials to refuse trademarks that they deem “scandalous” or “immoral.”
A distinctive brand name, seen on Brunetti’s hat, has led to a legal tangle. (Associated Press)
Brunetti called the provision an unconstitutional restriction of speech that should be struck down. He also said that the underlying process is arbitrary, and that trademarks more offensive than his could be approved depending on who handles the case.
John R. Sommer, Brunetti’s lawyer, makes the argument that an attorney from the South might find something “not nice” that wouldn’t faze a lawyer from the Bronx.