Brand & New
When Freedom of Expression Takes On Trademark Laws: What’s the Impact for Businesses and IP Rights Holders? (with Professor Lisa P. Ramsey, University of San Diego School of Law)
Feb 10, 2020 · 26 min
Play episode

Trademark law and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution seem from the outset to have a complex and conflicted relationship. Indeed, while protection of the right to freedom of expression can encourage the creation and dissemination of ideas and information, government protection of trademarks can suppress and punish expression that incorporates another's registered trademark.  Even further, trademark law sometimes prevents registration of signs that would otherwise be considered speech protected by the First Amendment, with numerous and strict conditions on what may or may not be registered. 

Lisa P. Ramsey, Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law, who teaches in the areas of trademark law and intellectual property in general, will explain the interactions between free expression and trademark law. Lisa’s most recent articles in the Houston Law Review, The Trademark Reporter, and other publications put the focus on the potential conflict between trademark and free expression rights in national and international laws; and a paper published by Oxford University Press explored nontraditional trademarks and inherently valuable expression.

She notably talks about two recent groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court cases right on point, namely Matal v. Tam (2017) and Iancu v. Brunetti (2019) about the right for the government to deny trademark registration to certain categories of trademarks “potentially disparaging” marks and “immoral or scandalous” marks, respectively.

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 Lisa Ramsey (link to

Also of interest:
- Article about Lee v. Tam decision (link to

- INTA statement re: Amicus Brief in the case of Lee v. Tam (link to:

- Opinions/articles about the Iancu v. Brunetti decision (link to, and

- Articles written by Lisa Ramsey about free speech and trademark protection - link to:,
- https://globa

Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu