Author Topic: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"  (Read 6232 times)

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Offline JeffT

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Here's an interesting piece of news about The Slants, whose first anime convention appearance was Kumoricon in 2007:

Full article: Band Vs United States Political Correctness Office

Quote
The Slants' trademark application for their name, "The Slants" has been rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the grounds that the term is deemed to be disparaging to persons of Asian descent and not sufficiently embraced by the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community. The dispute began last year and now the band is preparing for an appeal of the decision.

The decision was reached by the Trademark Office despite evidence filed by the band's attorney, which included numerous articles by the Asian American media supporting The Slants, the band's involvement with dozens of API cultural festivals and non-profit organizations, and legal declarations from several well-respected leaders of the API community.

Quote
The Trademark Office responded to the Asian media attention on the band by stating that though the aims of the band "may be laudable... rarely does an article introduce the band without commenting on the controversial nature of the band's name." Elsewhere in the rejection the office cited examples from wiki-articles as evidence that the name belittles the Asian American community.

Quote
Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, a coordinator for the Asian Pacific Network of Oregon and longtime policy advocate for the API community, states that "the use of the name The Slants by the musical group of that name does not disparage or offend the Asian and Pacific Islander community, both because of the explicit claiming of the term in a collective sense and because of the obscure nature of the term as a racial epitaph. The reclaiming of an obscure term that has been used to discriminate has a constructive impact when used by a group that also self-identifies as Asian and/or Pacific Islander."
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 03:59:23 pm »
Well, I for one agree that the government should have no say in what's "politically correct" in terms of racial slurs, especially if said community doesn't find it so.  I hope that these guys are successful in their pursuit for TM-ing their name.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2011, 04:16:54 pm »
Personally I applaud reclaiming of terms & symbols. Like how GLBTQ movements adopted the pink triangle, which was forcibly worn by gay inmates at concentration camps in Nazi Germany (may all those martyred there rest in peace).

I've called myself a Yid, a Heeb, etc., usually in groups of other Jews.

I certainly haven't shied away from using a Jewish star even though those were forcibly worn during the Nazi era.

However, it's not my place to know whether there are still those who would have their feelings hurt by the use of the term.
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Offline jaybug

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2011, 06:40:32 pm »
Maybe they need to change their name to the Launderers, Laundrymen, or Ancient Chinese Secret. If they want stereotype dissonance.
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 07:50:27 pm »
Ya know what's funny?  When I first heard of this band, I thought that their name was a football reference.
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Offline reppy

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 10:45:25 pm »
Did NWA ever copyright their name? heh.

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Offline JeffT

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011, 11:10:05 pm »
Did NWA ever copyright their name? heh.

You can't copyright a name. Copyright applies to works of authorship. Trademarks are the type of protection for names, logos, or slogans.

But, it appears that NWA did indeed trademark their name. I found entries for "N.W.A" which, when viewing the details, are clearly the band and not an unrelated business (among many other results that are unrelated), by searching on "NWA" in the USPTO trademark search. So I guess abbreviations are ok. :)
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Offline reppy

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2011, 12:44:27 pm »
Er yeah trademark was the word I was looking for. ^^

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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011, 06:14:56 pm »
Ya know what's funny?  When I first heard of this band, I thought that their name was a football reference.

I don't get it. What would it mean if it were?

 
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 07:41:14 pm »
^ When a wide receiver or tight end starts running forward, but then runs at an angle rather than continuing straight to the endzone, that is called a slant.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2011, 12:01:22 pm »
^ When a wide receiver or tight end starts running forward, but then runs at an angle rather than continuing straight to the endzone, that is called a slant.
Thanks.
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2011, 04:07:36 pm »
You're welcome, Rem.

I didn't see this in the article, but has there been any information made available as to when the next stage in this fight will be occurring?  I think a lot of people would be interested to hear how their quest is shaping along.
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Offline jaybug

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2011, 05:07:04 pm »
I thought the name was a political gesture, not football or ethnic. Then I saw the picture, and thought, well, they've got cahones for that name.
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Offline Banshee

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2011, 09:51:21 pm »
Okay I feel slow.  I never even though about the name that way until I read this thread.  If I had stopped to really think about it I most likely would have thought of the football reference, if only because I have been reading Eyeshield #21 and they explain all of the basic plays. ;D 

Besides if they don't have a problem with it, and no one else has been up in arms about it (they have gone by this name for years now), I wouldn't think the Trademark Office would care.  I can think of a lot of other bands and have much more blantly 'disparaging' names.

Offline Cyprus

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2011, 07:39:10 am »
I also never thought of it that way...

If they really think that's offensive, what about these listed below? Yes, these are all real band names & there are plenty more out there just like them. Be warned, some of the names contain offensive language. I certainly think "The Slants" wouldn't even come close to belonging on that list lol. Not to mention...google "The Chinks" or "The Wetbacks" to listen to some music from those bands on myspace (not saying it's good music though).

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Just seems like they are making a big stink out of nothing lol.

Offline @random

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2011, 04:19:48 pm »
Totally agree about them making a pointless big stink out of nothing... and this is me talking, the hall monitor. (^_~) Reminds me of the time some poor woman's license plate got rejected because someone thought it was obscene: "I <3 TOFU". She honestly didn't get why anyone would hate soybean curd that much.

(Btw, thank you much for the warning.  :))
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Offline Cyprus

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2011, 08:59:55 am »
Totally agree about them making a pointless big stink out of nothing... and this is me talking, the hall monitor. (^_~) Reminds me of the time some poor woman's license plate got rejected because someone thought it was obscene: "I <3 TOFU". She honestly didn't get why anyone would hate soybean curd that much.

(Btw, thank you much for the warning.  :))
WOW...I <3 TOFU rejected. Now that is just insanity lol. Over-censorship much?

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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2011, 10:56:30 am »
Totally agree about them making a pointless big stink out of nothing... and this is me talking, the hall monitor. (^_~) Reminds me of the time some poor woman's license plate got rejected because someone thought it was obscene: "I <3 TOFU". She honestly didn't get why anyone would hate soybean curd that much.

(Btw, thank you much for the warning.  :))
WOW...I <3 TOFU rejected. Now that is just insanity lol. Over-censorship much?

(You are perfectly welcome! :D )
Perhaps if she had been able to use lower-case, so it didn't look like an acronym.
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Offline StuckIntheRain

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2011, 02:52:38 pm »
I read the article in the Oregonian the other day. I am getting kinda annoyed by how politically correct people are trying to be these days. What may seam offensive to one may not to the other. The Slants should have the right to protect the brand they created. At least they are getting some publicity out of this  ;)

Offline jaybug

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2011, 06:11:50 pm »
They'd probably get away better with Yellow Menace.
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2011, 11:11:22 am »
At least they are getting some publicity out of this  ;)

I suppose that this is a positive spin on this situation...
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Offline Simon Young

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2011, 04:10:55 pm »
Hi everyone,

Just wanted to chime in (just saw this thread).

Thanks so much for your word of support, it really means a lot. It has been a very frustrating and long battle indeed but it's always encouraging and inspirational to find people who are supportive of our actions. As Jeff mentioned, this is creating some great publicity - which of course is good for our band - but more importantly, it brings up racism/stereotypes/discrimination to the front of the table.

Whatever happens in this case will help determine in the future what other minorities and community groups are able to do. Should people not be allowed to use the term "Geek" because someone can find it offensive? Why is the rap group NWA able to trademark their name or the all-caucasian band "Cracker" allowed to do the same thing while Asian Americans can't do the same thing for "Slant?"

I think the Oregonian makes a great point with the NFL Team. They won't even print "Redskins" in their paper because so many people find it offensive, yet the Trademark Office still continues to defend that decision. However, they couldn't find any examples of Asians or Asian Americans being offended by "The Slants" yet they still reject our case despite overwhelming evidence that the community at large supports what we do!

Anyway, thank you again!

Offline Gryffinclaw Princess

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2011, 04:52:03 pm »
The sad thing...? I didn't even realize it was the racial term... :/
Now, I know I'm not a stupid person but I'm not saying I'm a genius either. I just didn't pick up on it.
Heck, I didn't realize the band was all Asian but I've never listened to them or watched them perform or anything. (I've seen pics though...)

Truthfully...I thought of the backslash on the keyboard cause it's 'slant'ed. Like that one couple in China who tried to name their kid @ because it is a symbol about love or something or other.

I see it as the same thing you guys keep saying about same race slang terms.
Black people call themselves Ni**ers. We call ourselves Otaku which can be an insult in Japan.
I've called myself Cracker countless times. Sure, I don't like people calling me racial terms in a hurtful manner but if you're joking around or I'm saying it about myself then what's the harm? If the people around me aren't offended by it either then who is it really hurting?

I know Cyprus tosses around Jewish jokes to his Jewish friends and they laugh.
I have Mexican friends who toss around Mexican jokes. I have one friend who hates most Mexicans and she says that since she's Mexican she "knows better" than to like them.

People need to take the stick out of their butts and realize that racism is everywhere and it will always exist as long as we all have different skin colors. A band name should be the least of their worries.
If they aren't going to let a band name get by they might as well rename crackers to crunchy bread or something cause that's a slang term, too. :/

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Offline Simon Young

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2011, 04:54:51 pm »
The sad thing...? I didn't even realize it was the racial term... :/
Now, I know I'm not a stupid person but I'm not saying I'm a genius either. I just didn't pick up on it.
Heck, I didn't realize the band was all Asian but I've never listened to them or watched them perform or anything. (I've seen pics though...)

Truthfully...I thought of the backslash on the keyboard cause it's 'slant'ed. Like that one couple in China who tried to name their kid @ because it is a symbol about love or something or other.

I see it as the same thing you guys keep saying about same race slang terms.
Black people call themselves Ni**ers. We call ourselves Otaku which can be an insult in Japan.
I've called myself Cracker countless times. Sure, I don't like people calling me racial terms in a hurtful manner but if you're joking around or I'm saying it about myself then what's the harm? If the people around me aren't offended by it either then who is it really hurting?

I know Cyprus tosses around Jewish jokes to his Jewish friends and they laugh.
I have Mexican friends who toss around Mexican jokes. I have one friend who hates most Mexicans and she says that since she's Mexican she "knows better" than to like them.

People need to take the stick out of their butts and realize that racism is everywhere and it will always exist as long as we all have different skin colors. A band name should be the least of their worries.
If they aren't going to let a band name get by they might as well rename crackers to crunchy bread or something cause that's a slang term, too. :/

First of all, love your username. I've always seen myself as a hybrid of two houses.

But you're right. Slant is a generational, outdated term. I've grown up around people who were racist towards Asians - I used to get rocks thrown at my head, beat up after school, yelled at all the time. Not once did someone call me a "slant."


Offline Gryffinclaw Princess

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2011, 05:27:43 pm »
^^ Thanks! I didn't think anyone on here would even get it but I'm glad someone knows what it means!

I really don't see the big deal about it. Cyprus's link had a lot worse names than Slant. If people don't like it, don't buy the CDs or listen to the music. There is a lot of things I don't like in this world. I just don't go around them.

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Offline superjaz

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2011, 06:53:14 pm »
It makes me think of something that happened to my mom, she was taking with some coworkers about native american tribes and she said "one problems is there are too many chiefs and not enough indians" and then the coworkers starts giving her a hard time for sayin indians.... which my mom is native american....... Some times I jokingly call my Hubby white devil.   What I can't believe is they are making a fuss over slants, when there is allowed stuff like  "redskins" is being used, which I admit as a member of a native american family I do find offensive.
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Offline Simon Young

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2011, 09:47:08 pm »
It makes me think of something that happened to my mom, she was taking with some coworkers about native american tribes and she said "one problems is there are too many chiefs and not enough indians" and then the coworkers starts giving her a hard time for sayin indians.... which my mom is native american....... Some times I jokingly call my Hubby white devil.   What I can't believe is they are making a fuss over slants, when there is allowed stuff like  "redskins" is being used, which I admit as a member of a native american family I do find offensive.

The whole thing is quite absurd. Hopefully all of this attention will put some social pressure on the office!


Offline Simon Young

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2011, 09:49:00 pm »
By the way, I'll be on air talking about this in case any of you are interested in tuning in and listening (or calling in to discuss):

KBOO 90.7FM (Portland), 100.7FM (Corvallis), or 91.9FM (Hood River)
You can also stream online www.kboo.fm

The show will broadcast tomorrow morning (Wed, Mar 30) from 8am-9am

Thank you again!

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2011, 07:09:23 am »
I just think that people need to stop taking everything so seriously & enjoy life. This country is obsessed with drama & jumps on any opportunity to create it. The media is certainly a big problem in that department...they prefer to air 90% tragic/depressing/violent type stories than to report more uplifting news. Not to mention, they blow things WAY out of proportion & like to "edit" their stories to the point of about 40% truth. This whole "politically correct" nonsense has made people a bunch of pansies. Yes I said it, pansies. Call me a cracker, geek, dork, nazi (I happen to be German), moron, etc...see how much of a rise you will get out of me.  

I hope all works out for you guys...honestly have only heard your music at conventions, but I am a music lover & I believe you guys should be free to express yourself in not only your lyrics, but choice of band name.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 07:16:12 am by Cyprus »

Offline Simon Young

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2011, 09:41:46 am »
I just think that people need to stop taking everything so seriously & enjoy life. This country is obsessed with drama & jumps on any opportunity to create it. The media is certainly a big problem in that department...they prefer to air 90% tragic/depressing/violent type stories than to report more uplifting news. Not to mention, they blow things WAY out of proportion & like to "edit" their stories to the point of about 40% truth. This whole "politically correct" nonsense has made people a bunch of pansies. Yes I said it, pansies. Call me a cracker, geek, dork, nazi (I happen to be German), moron, etc...see how much of a rise you will get out of me.  

I hope all works out for you guys...honestly have only heard your music at conventions, but I am a music lover & I believe you guys should be free to express yourself in not only your lyrics, but choice of band name.

Thank you! I appreciate it!

We do play a lot of conventions - we've worked with/promoter with/our performed at about 100 in the past 4 years, but we actually spend more time touring and playing shows outside of that (about 250 shows in the past 4 years). We like to keep busy on both fronts :)

Offline Cyprus

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #30 on: March 30, 2011, 10:40:25 am »
I just think that people need to stop taking everything so seriously & enjoy life. This country is obsessed with drama & jumps on any opportunity to create it. The media is certainly a big problem in that department...they prefer to air 90% tragic/depressing/violent type stories than to report more uplifting news. Not to mention, they blow things WAY out of proportion & like to "edit" their stories to the point of about 40% truth. This whole "politically correct" nonsense has made people a bunch of pansies. Yes I said it, pansies. Call me a cracker, geek, dork, nazi (I happen to be German), moron, etc...see how much of a rise you will get out of me. 

I hope all works out for you guys...honestly have only heard your music at conventions, but I am a music lover & I believe you guys should be free to express yourself in not only your lyrics, but choice of band name.

Thank you! I appreciate it!

We do play a lot of conventions - we've worked with/promoter with/our performed at about 100 in the past 4 years, but we actually spend more time touring and playing shows outside of that (about 250 shows in the past 4 years). We like to keep busy on both fronts :)
Very happy for your success...I know that you guys are popular amongst the con-goers. It's awsome that you guys make your way to so many conventions...just awsome. Especially considering how busy you guys seem to be with all the other shows lol. That's about 88 shows per year...I thought I worked a lot. Well, it's awsome that you guys are so dedicated to your fans, I know that it's much appreciated. Keep doing what you do!!

Offline Simon Young

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2011, 11:13:09 am »
I just think that people need to stop taking everything so seriously & enjoy life. This country is obsessed with drama & jumps on any opportunity to create it. The media is certainly a big problem in that department...they prefer to air 90% tragic/depressing/violent type stories than to report more uplifting news. Not to mention, they blow things WAY out of proportion & like to "edit" their stories to the point of about 40% truth. This whole "politically correct" nonsense has made people a bunch of pansies. Yes I said it, pansies. Call me a cracker, geek, dork, nazi (I happen to be German), moron, etc...see how much of a rise you will get out of me. 

I hope all works out for you guys...honestly have only heard your music at conventions, but I am a music lover & I believe you guys should be free to express yourself in not only your lyrics, but choice of band name.

Thank you! I appreciate it!

We do play a lot of conventions - we've worked with/promoter with/our performed at about 100 in the past 4 years, but we actually spend more time touring and playing shows outside of that (about 250 shows in the past 4 years). We like to keep busy on both fronts :)
Very happy for your success...I know that you guys are popular amongst the con-goers. It's awsome that you guys make your way to so many conventions...just awsome. Especially considering how busy you guys seem to be with all the other shows lol. That's about 88 shows per year...I thought I worked a lot. Well, it's awsome that you guys are so dedicated to your fans, I know that it's much appreciated. Keep doing what you do!!

Thank you very much! We're very passionate about what we do and performing at conventions, as well as doing things like workshops on Asian culture, is something that all of us love doing. Hope to see you at some conventions or shows in the near future!

Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2011, 12:26:25 pm »
The show will broadcast tomorrow morning (Wed, Mar 30) from 8am-9am

Thank you again!

Aww... I missed it!  Do you know if there's a file available, so we can listen to the broadcast's recording?
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Offline Simon Young

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2011, 04:12:45 pm »
The show will broadcast tomorrow morning (Wed, Mar 30) from 8am-9am

Thank you again!

Aww... I missed it!  Do you know if there's a file available, so we can listen to the broadcast's recording?

Here you go! http://kboo.fm/node/27639

Several anime fans called in as well, good times!

Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: "The Slants" trademark application rejected, deemed "disparaging"
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2011, 04:45:22 pm »
Awesome!  Thanks, Simon.  I'm listening to it, now.
I have a new blog!  It is an anime-themed discussion site.  Please check it out, and share your two cents!

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