Patent Office Cancels Redskins Trademark: Name Is ‘Disparaging’
In a decision issued Wednesday morning, the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six trademarks for the Washington Football Team, né Redskins, ruling that the name was an ethnic slur and thus ran afoul of federal trademark law.
“We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” the Trial and Appeal Board wrote.
Federal trademark law prohibits “registration of marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute.” Five Native Americans brought the case, the second time such a suit has been brought; the previous ruling, similar to today’s, was overruled due to a technicality.
The team’s owner, Dan Snyder, has viciously fought any attempt to change the name.
“The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place,” the plaintiffs’ attorney wrote in a statement. “We presented a wide variety of evidence –- including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups –- to demonstrate that the word ‘redskin’ is an ethnic slur.”
Rumors that the Washington Football Team sucks anyway went unconfirmed at press time.
[h/t Think Progress]
[Image via screengrab]
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