US Won't Trademark Band's 'Racist' Name

Asian-American rockers The Slants say moniker celebrates identity
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2011 11:56 AM CDT

Hoping to break through to the national scene, a Portland rock band figured it should trademark its name—but its application has been rejected, twice, on the grounds the name is racist, the Oregonian reports in a story picked up by Pat's Papers. The Slants are an Asian-American band with a large Asian-American fan base, and “in the larger sense, minorities should have the right to label themselves,” says the band’s manager and bassist. “We deserve the right to protect our name.”

The US Trademark Act says the feds can refuse a trademark if it "consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage"; officials cited the section when denying the application, and pointed to uproars surrounding separate photos of Miley Cyrus and Spain’s basketball team with their eyes “slanted.” In an appeal that was rejected, the band got supporting statements from leaders in the Asian-American community. “This does not disparage Asian identity; it celebrates it,” noted one. The band is readying another appeal. The paper points out that both the Washington Redskins and rap group NWA have trademarks, while Jewish magazine Heeb was also denied. (More Portland stories.)

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