news, views & events


    TAMPA, FL – June 28, 2019 – Attorney Richard M. Blau, shareholder and chair of GrayRobinson’s alcohol beverage lawfood law and cannabis industry law practice groups, is interviewed in the Kane’s Beverage News Daily segment “Richard Blau on TTB’s Labeling Ability After Supreme Court Decision.” In the interview, he provides insight on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) labeling ability following this week’s Supreme Court decision in Iancu v. Brunetti.

    Mr. Blau identifies the distinction between the standards applied by: (i) the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), i.e., the Federal Alcohol Administration Act’s prohibition against “obscene” or “indecent” material on a label, versus (ii) the standards applied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), i.e., the Lanham Act’s prohibition against “scandalous” or “immoral” material in a trademark. “Both of those federal statutes passed by Congress deal with restrictions on inappropriate terms, one in the context of alcohol labeling, the other in the context of trademarks and patents and such,” he states. Whether the ruling  regarding trademarks extends to alcohol labels remains open to debate. As Blau noted in his full, written analysis of the Iancu v. Burni decision: “The majority opinion in Brunetti was emphatic that the Lanham Act’s ‘immoral and scandalous’ language is unenforceable. However, several justices wrote concurring / dissenting opinions attempting to distinguish ‘immoral and scandalous’ language from speech that is ‘indecent or profane,’ or ‘obscene, profane and vulgar.’”

    During his interview with Kane’s Beverage New Daily, Blau emphasizes the ambiguity of the term “scandalous,” due to the everchanging concept of what is scandalous now, in comparison to what was 50 years ago. Therefore, according to Blau, the TTB reviewer has the responsibility of exercising a level of judgement, objective as possible, to determine whether a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA)  application contains scandalous material.

    Listen to the full interview here.

    Read Richard Blau’s full, written analysis “The Supreme Court Speaks: Iancu v. Burni” here



  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Ingenuity in Action.®

To contact your closest G|R Office call 800-338-3381

Subscribe to Our E-mail List:
Subscribe