Kevin Allen | September 30, 2017
The Patrick F. McCartan Courtroom has hosted distinguished speakers, including several U.S. Supreme Court justices, as well as real courts, including the Indiana Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
But on Sept. 30 (Saturday) — for the first time — the McCartan Courtroom will host a concert.
The Slants, a dance-rock band from Portland, Oregon, will be here from noon to 1:30 p.m. for an event that will combine music and law.
The band members will play some of their songs and talk about their legal battle to trademark The Slants’ name — which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected in 2010 because it was deemed disparaging to people of Asian descent.
The four men in The Slants are of Asian descent, but their ethnicity isn’t the only reason for the band’s name. The name — which is meant to be a reappropriation of an offensive term — also refers to a slant on life and slant chords in music.
The band’s case, Matal v. Tam, proceeded all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In June, the court ruled in The Slants’ favor on the grounds that the Lanham Act’s disparagement clause — which allowed the government to deny trademark protection for disparaging names — violated the First Amendment right to free speech. The decision attracted attention not just because of The Slants, but also because it was a win for the Washington Redskins’ efforts to keep that controversial team name.
The Intellectual Property Law Society and the Asian Law Students Association are sponsoring the concert and question-and-answer session.