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Peter Henein Discusses Offensive Trademarks with the Law Times


Peter Henein was quoted in an article titled “Challenge on Offensive Trademarks Could Bring Clarity” published by the Law Times.

Writes Michael McKiernan: “Canadian intellectual property lawyers say brand owners would benefit from the clarity a Constitutional challenge would bring to the country’s ban on offensive trademarks. This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the portion of its law prohibiting disparaging trademarks, ruling that the ban infringed on First Amendment free speech rights. The unanimous judgment of the U.S. top court’s eight-judge panel went in favour of the Asian-American band the Slants, a band whose frontman Simon Tam claimed was named in an attempt to reclaim a once derogatory term.”

In the article, Peter notes “that U.S. Supreme Court decisions, while obviously not binding on Canadian courts, can still prove influential on this side of the border. Trademark law and intellectual property more broadly is an area where many of the concepts are similar in both countries.” He goes on to say: “The proposition that trademark law is not the proper venue for moral determinations makes a lot of sense to me, and I think the language and reasoning of the court followed in the Slants case would certainly be of assistance if and when our courts have to deal with the same question.”

Read the full article here.