21 minutes | Sep 15, 2020

Disparaging Trademarks at a Time of Social and Racial Justice Movements (with Prof. Rebecca Tushnet, Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)

Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic and its gripping effects, 2020 will most likely be remembered for the series of police brutalities leading to the deaths of several African Americans in the United States and a subsequent wave of protests all over the world. These movements for racial justice led to a surge in initiatives in favor of black, indigenous, and people of color, or BIPOC, both to challenge certain situations or status quo and to celebrate cultures and diversity, thereby moving the boundaries of what is considered by most as no longer acceptable.

Unsurprisingly, intellectual property (IP), as the most visible result of individuals' and companies' expression and communication, has being directly impacted. Several brands were publicly challenged for using racial stereotypes. How do these social dynamics impact trademark owners? What does IP law tell us about offensive trademarks? 

Professor Rebecca Tushnet, the inaugural Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, is the guest of our new episode of Brand&New. Her research and teaching focuses on copyright, trademark, advertising, and First Amendment law. After clerking at the United States Supreme Court, she practiced IP law at Debevoise and Plimpton before turning to academia. Her blog at tushnet.blogspot.com has been on the American Bar Association 100 list of top legal blogs for several years. 

Every two weeks, on Tuesday, Brand & New gives the floor to inspiring individuals, with a 360-degree vision, to help brand owners, intellectual property lawyers, and marketing and finance professionals (and beyond!) stay curious and agile in an ever-evolving business environment.

Brand & New is a production of the International Trademark Association
Hosted by Audrey Dauvet - Contribution of M. Halle & S. Lagedamond - Music by JD Beats


To go further:
About Rebecca Tushnet: https://hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/11412/Tushnet/ 

Also of interest:
Rebecca Tushnet’s blog (https://tushnet.blogspot.com)
-Harvard Business Review: “When a Brand Stands up for Racial Justice, Do People Buy It?(https://hbr.org/2020/07/when-a-brand-stands-up-for-racial-justice-do-people-buy-it)
- United States Supreme Court: Matal v. Tam (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/15-1293_1o13.pdf)
- INTA Bulletin: “International Amicus Committee Update: INTA Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court Case on Immoral or Scandalous Marks” (https://www.inta.org/international-amicus-committee-update-inta-files-amicus-brief-in-u-s-supreme-court-case-on-immoral-or-scandalous-marks/)
- International Trademark Association’s 2020 Annual Meeting & Leadership Meeting: 12 educational tracks, including sessions entitled “Brand Authenticity: Reacting to Social Movements Quickly and Appropriately” (https://www.inta.org/events/2020-annual-meeting-leadership-meeting/)
-The National Law Review: “Trademark Trolls—A Danger to Avoid with a Re-Brand” (https://www.natlawreview.com/article/trad

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