Simon Tam is the founder and leader of a band called “The Slants.” The band is made up of Asian-Americans, and, in Tam’s words, “I named the band The Slants because it represented our perspective—or slant—on life as people of colour. It was a deliberate act of claiming an identity as well as a nod to Asian-American activists who had been using the term for decades.”
Tam tried to register the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, the application was refused, under a provision of trademark law that prohibits registration of anything thing that “[c]onsists of … matter which may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute.”
Tam sued, claiming that this law violated his rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution, which says, in part, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech…”
A federal court of appeals agreed with him and ruled in his favor, stating: “We hold that the disparagement provision of [trademark law] is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment. We vacate the Board’s holding that Mr. Tam’s mark is unregistrable, and remand this case to the Board for further proceedings.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appealed this decision to the United States Supreme Court. Your answer is to give me your opinion as to which side the U.S. Supreme Court should rule in favor of, and provide reasoning to support your position.