Supreme Court rules in favor of Portland band The Slants - KPTV - FOX 12

Supreme Court rules in favor of Portland band The Slants

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This photo provided by Anthony Pidgeon, taken Aug. 21, 2015, shows the Asian-American band The Slants. (Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns via AP) This photo provided by Anthony Pidgeon, taken Aug. 21, 2015, shows the Asian-American band The Slants. (Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns via AP)

A ruling just announced in a Supreme Court case involving a Portland-based band could affect the high-profile legal battle involving the trademark of an NFL team.

After nearly eight years of legal battles, The Slants just learned Monday morning that they can trademark their band name.

The ruling is a long-time coming for the Asian-American rock band started more than a decade ago in the Rose City.

Simon Tam has been with the band since they formed in 2006, and the bass player explained that when the group tried to trademark the name ‘The Slants’ in 2011, they were denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office because the government said the name disparages Asians.

The band fought back, with the Supreme Court announcing Monday it agreed with the band. The justices ruled that laws barring the government from registering disparaging trademarks violate free speech rights.

Tam told FOX 12 he is overwhelmed with emotion, excited and humbled. He also said this win is about so much more than just a band name and that it extends further beyond the group itself.

“It’s not offensive to our community. We want to take it back, we want to re-appropriate it and use this word in a meaningful way.” Tam explained. “I think things like irony, satire, wit are re-appropriation are central for democracy. They’re the things that truly neuterize (sic) malice and racial slurs.”

Following the ruling, all eyes are now on the Washington Redskin’s own trademark war. Two years ago the trademark office canceled the team’s trademark for the same reason, saying it, “disparages persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols."

The team asked the Supreme Court to take up the case, but the request was denied last October. The latest ruling in The Slants case could be a sign that the team may very well have new precedent in that case.

Members of the slants told FOX 12 they are going to celebrate the victory the way they know best – by working on a special performance coming soon to Portland.

The details aren’t worked out yet, but they do have another scheduled performance at the Ash Street Saloon on July 11.

The band also released a statement, saying in part that they are thankful the "excruciating legal battle" is over.

After an excruciating legal battle that has spanned nearly eight years, we’re beyond humbled and thrilled to have won this case at the Supreme Court. This journey has always been much bigger than our band: it’s been about the rights of all marginalized communities to determine what’s best for ourselves. During the fight, we found the Trademark Office justifying the denial of rights to people based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, and political views, simply because they disagreed with the message of these groups. To that end, they knowingly used false and misleading information, supported by questionable sources such as, while placing undue burdens on vulnerable communities and small business owners by forcing them into a lengthy, expensive, and biased appeals process. The Supreme Court has vindicated First Amendment rights not only for our The Slants, but all Americans who are fighting against paternal government policies that ultimately lead to viewpoint discrimination.

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