A term that would be viewed as disparaging of a particular group of people cannot be registered as a trademark. The case discussed in this article titled “Band name held to be disparaging under Section 2(a),” first published in the October 17, 2013 edition WTR Daily, part of World Trademark Review (
www.worldtrademarkreview.com), applies this general rule in the context of an applicant who was himself a member of the group disparaged by the term in question. Specifically, the applicant was of Asian descent and had applied to register THE SLANTS for the name of a musical group. Registration was refused even though the applicant claimed he chose the name to further a positive purpose in showing his pride in being Asian. His good intentions, however, were insufficient to change the fact that the stereotype presented by his applied-for mark is generally considered to be negative. Thus, the Trademark Office would not confer the benefits of registration to him for the name. He remains free to use the name in furtherance of his message, without such trademark benefits.