Duquesne University School of Law

A Name Worth Fighting For? The Slants, Trademark Law, and Free Expression

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 4:30pm to 7:00pm

Event Location:

Event Audience:

$60 or $50 for CLE Program, Reception, and Music

Continuing Legal Education

A Name Worth Fighting For? The Slants, Trademark Law, and Free Expression 

Join Duquesne Law, the Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Association, and the Federal Bar Association’s Pittsburgh chapter for a special program about the rock band that is the subject of a current U.S. Supreme Court case. 

The continuing legal education (CLE) course focuses The Slants, an Asian-American musical group whose trademark application was denied for its use of a term deemed derogatory, and the case Lee v. Tam

The program features Simon Tam, the band’s founder and bassist, Hon. Cathy Bissoon of U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, and Christine Haight Farley, a law professor from American University. Associate Dean Jacob H Rooksby, an intellectual property professor at Duquesne, will moderate a discussion about trademark law, including whether the band’s choice to claim the name should be protected by the First Amendment.

The CLE will review Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act of 1946, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office used to deny the band’s trademark application; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s decision reversing the trademark office’s determination; and freedom of expression issues. 

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on Lee v. Tam in January. The ongoing legal battle has been covered by the New York Times, NPR, and other media outlets. This CLE will offer insight into the fight by the band’s founder as well as an opportunity to hear the group’s music. A 45-minute concert and light reception will follow the CLE program.

4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. CLE

6:15 p.m. – 7 p.m. Concert 

CLE Credit 

This live course is approved for 1.5 hours of substantive credit. 



$60 for CLE, reception, and music

$50 for CLE, reception and music for judges and staff, government attorneys and staff, and guests not seeking CLE credit. 

Students may attend the CLE and/or the concert free of charge as space allows. Registration is required.

CLE payment can be made when registering or after registering at the door. Checks and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Discover) are accepted. 



Seating is limited. Please register early to save a seat. 


Register Today



Contact cle@duq.edu or call 412.396.6300.