UNITED STATES

US appeal court upholds trademark ban on ‘Stop Islam’ website

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 8:21pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 8:21pm

A US appeal court has upheld a decision to refuse to allow the owners of a website titled "Stop! Islamization of America" to trademark the site's name.

The case had its origin in 2011, when an examiner with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) refused to register the website name as a trademark, arguing that it could be disparaging to American Muslims. The decision was reviewed by the USPTO itself, and upheld.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed that decision, citing essays and comments on the website that opposed building mosques in the United States, and expressions of support for Muslims who leave the faith.

"Appellants (the website owners) contend the essays posted on their website do not advocate suppression of the Islamic faith, but only oppose political Islamisation. The (USPTO) board disagreed, as do we," the court said in its ruling, which found "substantial evidence" for the trademark office's decision.

Website owner Pamela Geller said she was not surprised by the ruling.

"This is clear ongoing evidence of how the federal government and especially the courts, bend over backwards, kowtow and placate Muslim sensitivities," she said.