‘Trump Too Small’ Trademark Fight Gets US Supreme Court Review

The US Supreme Court agreed to take up a free speech showdown over a man trying to get federal trademark protection for the phrase “Trump too small.”

The justices said Monday they will hear the Biden administration’s appeal of a ruling that said Steve Elster has a First Amendment right to seek to register the mark with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Elster says he wants to use the phrase on T-shirts.

At issue is a decades-old provision in federal trademark law barring registration of marks that identify a living person without that individual’s consent. A federal appeals court in Washington said the provision violates the First Amendment when the trademark includes criticism of a government official or public figure.

US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued in the appeal that the provision passes constitutional muster because it is a “a condition on a government benefit, not a restriction on speech.”

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