Trademarks and Logos – Federal Preemption (Lanham Trademark Act)

The following article originally appeared on the Small Business Administration website in February 2001, but it was subsequently removed. The Lanham Trademark Act, at 15 U.S.C. 1121, prohibits states, and their political subdivisions, from requiring alteration of federally registered names, marks and colors where included within the registration. The decisions in two recent federal cases […]

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Fourteenth Amendment Application to Sign Control

Fourteenth Amendment Application to Sign Control Under the Fourteenth Amendment, applicable to the states and their subdivisions, a state or local-government regulation may not deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deprive a person of equal protection of the laws. Due process. A fundamental requirement of due process […]

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First Amendment Application to Sign Control

The Fourteenth Amendment makes the First Amendment’s freedom-of-speech provision applicable to states and their political subdivisions. While many sign codes begin as content neutral “time, place, and manner” regulations (or “police power” exercises), further analysis often reveals the ordinance violates First Amendment “free speech” guarantees. Even in cases where the subject ordinance is not per se […]

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Fifth Amendment Application to Sign Control

The Fifth Amendment applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. It contains two guarantees: The “due process” clause, as in the Fourteenth Amendment, protects citizens from government action that arbitrarily deprives them of a fundamental right without due process of law, and it applies to both the act itself and the procedures incidental to […]

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Signage Sourcebook (2003)

US Small Business Administration’s Guide for Sign Use. Signage Source Book Cover (PDF – 2MB) Forward, Acknowledgement & Contents (PDF – 0.2MB) The Science of Signs Introduction: The Science of Signs (PDF – 12MB) Signs and Traffic Safety (PDF – 22.MB) The FHWA Approach (PDF – 18MB) Conspicuity and Readability Issues (PDF – 9MB) Legibility […]

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Signs, Legal Rights and Aesthetic Considerations (1972)

There are three general ways in which cultural constraints are enforced: through the use of police powers, eminent domain and taxation. Download Signs. Legal Rights and Aesthetic Considerations Download Wade SwormstedtWade is Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry. Formerly he was Editor and Publisher of Signs of the Times magazine.More Posts

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Cases on Sign Law (1975)

The exercise of power to regulate signs is not unlimited. This comprehensive look at the case law relating to signs. Download Cases on Sign Law. Download Wade SwormstedtWade is Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry. Formerly he was Editor and Publisher of Signs of the Times magazine.More Posts

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What’s Your Signage? (2004)

How On-Premise Signs Help Small Businesses Tap into a Hidden Profit Center A handbook developed by The New York State Small Business Development Center and the Signage Foundation for Communications Excellence. Download What’s Your Signage? Download Wade SwormstedtWade is Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry. Formerly he was Editor and Publisher […]

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Analysis of Legal and Legislative Strategies

The following article originally appeared in the August 1987 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By R. James Claus, Ph.D., Karen E. Claus, Ph.D. Donald W. Large, L.L.B. The history of sign-control legislation shows that certain approaches are successful and produce fair regulation, which benefits the entire community. Industry representatives who utilize positive strategies […]

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Is Blockbuster Decision a Blockbuster?

Here’s a Video Update on the case of trademarked logos and signs in Tempe, AZ The following article originally appeared in the July 1998 issue of Signs of the Times magazine. By Wade Swormstedt A federal appellate court has upheld the Lanham Act and concurred with a lower-court ruling that the City of Tempe must […]

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