Author: Robert J. Martin Jr.

On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s prohibition against disparaging trademarks “violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.” The case, Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S. _____ (2017), arises out of a federal lawsuit filed by Simon Tam, front man of the Asian-American rock band styled “The Slants.” Tam filed his suit after the USPTO denied his application for federal registration of the trademark “THE SLANTS” because it violated the Lanham Act’s disparagement clause (15 U.S.C. §1052(a)). Tam chose the name in order to “reclaim” the term and drain its denigrating force as a derogatory term for Asians. Continue Reading
By Robert J. Martin Jr. You surfed online and found the perfect wave photo for your paddleboard business's website.  It was readily available on the internet and not offered for sale through a stock photo company.  You're free to use it, right?  Not so fast! Continue Reading
by Robert J Martin, Jr. This posting has been updated to reflect the revised template for pro hac vice admission in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. When out-of-state counsel become involved in a Hawai`i case, one of the most important issues to address early on is whether counsel will appear pro hac vice. Both the U.S. District Court and the Hawai`i state courts require outside counsel to apply for pro hac vice admission. Out-of-state counsel representing a party in a regulatory proceeding  before a state agency have also been required to seek pro hac vice admission through a "special proceeding" filed in state court.  Although the admission process for the federal and state courts is similar in many respects, there are some notable differences. Continue Reading