The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling 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.”
Read More – U.S. Cancels ‘Redskins’ Trademark
U.S. Patent Office cancels trademark registrations for NFL’s Washington Redskins
The team has been under fire for the past year, with many groups, including the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, wanting the want nickname changed. Last month, the team hired a lobbying firm to help with the public backlash after senators sent a letter to the National Football League saying they also wanted the name changed.
“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 Trademark Trial and Appeals board wrote in its opinion.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has repeatedly said that he will not change the nickname despite the opposition.
More – Sports Illustrated
USPTO decision doesn't bar Redskins from continuing to use their name but they can't sue someone for using their trademark in federal court.
— Kara Rowland (@kararowland) June 18, 2014