Brian Iverson Image

Brian Iverson

is a Member in the Washington, D.C. office of Bass Berry + Sims, where he focuses his practice on trademark litigation and other complex commercial dispute resolution. Mr. Iverson has represented clients before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and many other federal and state courts across the country. He also regularly advises clients on trademark selection, brand protection, domain names, and other strategic trademark issues. Mr. Iverson is an Associate Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and was selected as a “Rising Star” in the 2014-2018 editions of Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers. He earned his B.B.A. from Belmont University, cum laude, and his J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law, magna cum laude and Order of the Coif.

For more information or to contact Brian, please visit his Firm Profile Page.

Recent Articles by Brian Iverson

Supreme Court Asked to Consider Immoral or Scandalous Trademarks

On September 7, 2018, the government filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the case relating to Eric Brunetti’s clothing brand, called FUCT. Although Brunetti has marketed various apparel under the FUCT mark since the early 1990s, the application at issue in this case was filed in 2011. The examiner rejected the application under Section 2(a), finding that FUCT “is the past tense of F*CK,” and “is scandalous because it is disparaging and [] total[ly] vulgar.” The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed, finding that “the Trademark Examining Attorney has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that a substantial composite of the general public would find this designation vulgar.” If the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the Brunetti case, it could have a substantial impact on “shock value” marks in commerce.

Matal v. Tam: What’s New and What to Watch in Registration of Disparaging, Immoral, and Scandalous Trademarks

Many other related issues remain ripe for consideration in Brunetti and future cases. Most significantly, are trademarks considered “commercial speech?”  If so, laws relating to trademarks might be subject to relaxed scrutiny for constitutional compliance rather than strict scrutiny… While Tam settled some issues related to The Slants, the Washington Redskins, and D*kes on Bikes, the decision’s full impact remains to be seen.  Brunetti seems to be a promising avenue for the Supreme Court to address some of the tangential issues left open by the Tam decision.

Disparaging, Immoral, and Scandalous Trademarks Since Matal v. Tam

A little more than one year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Lanham Act’s disparagement clause as unconstitutional in Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (June 19, 2017).  While Tam settled some issues related to The Slants, the Washington Redskins, and D*kes on Bikes, the decision’s full impact remains to be seen. Issues remain ripe for future consideration. Most significantly, are trademarks considered “commercial speech?”  If so, laws relating to trademarks might be subject to relaxed scrutiny for constitutional compliance rather than strict scrutiny.