Currently, my band is fighting a battle with the United States Patent and Trademark Office over the right to register a trademark on our name. It’s been going on for four years now. Today, the Oregonian published an opinion piece that I wrote talking about the case. You can read it here.
I suppose in the world of marketing and activism, a greater conversation can take place: who ultimately should own or decide the appropriateness of words, logos, or icons? Is it our audience, our communities, or ourselves? At the moment, the opinions of these groups do not matter. When it comes to trademarks, that decision ultimately rests with a single examining attorney, whether or not they actually understand your message, your market, or your organization.
In my case, I was accused of being “too Asian.” It doesn’t matter if my band’s “brand” had to do with positive Asian American identity and has been celebrated across North America for its anti-racism work. It didn’t even matter that the U.S government called on us multiple times to help address issues affecting ethnic communities: when it came to the trademark registration, one attorney believed that it was inappropriate for group of Asian Americans to use the word “slant.”
Read the post for more information – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this: A new slant on racism.