Race Issues | Why an Asian American band took its controversial trademark battle to the Supreme Court—and how its frontman saw humanity in others
by Mary Reichard
Posted 7/18/19, 03:31 pm
In 2013 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied an Oregon punk rock band’s request to trademark its name, “The Slants,” on grounds it disparaged Asian Americans. The band, led by California native Simon Tam, appealed: He says its goal was to reclaim the term from racial slurs and “inject it with pride.” In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the trademark denial violated the First Amendment and granted the band’s request. Since then, Tam has written a memoir and started a foundation to help Asian American artists.