No more Washington Redskins? patent office cancels team trademark
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration.
The trademark office called the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”
The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed.
“This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” said lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath.
Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The ruling pertains to six different trademarks associated with the team, each containing the word “Redskin.”
The ruling doesn’t mean that Redskin owner have to change the name of the team.
It does affect whether the team and the NFL can make money from merchandise as it limits the team’s legal options when others use the logos and the name of apparel.
Native Americans won at this stage in the fight to remove the name before, but the NFL won an appeal to U.S. District Court. The team will most likely make the same appeal this time.
Thoughts on the decision?
Given previous rulings, does it make a difference?
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