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Redskins Trademark Revoked by U.S. Patent Office

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the Redskins trademark name Wednesday, saying “a substantial composite of Native Americans found the term Redskins to be disparaging.”

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has revoked the Washington Redskins trademark registration because it is "disparaging to Native Americans."

The Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc. decision, a landmark case which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was brought forth back in 2006 by Native American groups citing federal trademark law does not allow trademarks that disparage an individual or group.

"It is a great victory for Native Americans and for all Americans," Blackhorse said in a statement. "I hope this ruling brings us a step closer to that inevitable day when the name of the Washington football team will be changed."

The ruling does not necessitate the Redskins change their name, reports the Washington Post. It only affects whether the team can profit from merchandising the Redskins brand. This could actually result in more Redskins merchandise, not less, since third parties will now be free to market the team’s name and logo. 

Native Americans won a similar suit in 1999, though the Redskins and the NFL appealed the decision to the U.S. District Court in 2009, after which the case was thrown out on an appeal because the courts decided the plaintiffs were too old.

The Redskins and the NFL are likely to appeal this decision as well, the New York Times reports. If the team loses its appeal, it could still attempt to stop third parties from using the name under common law.

Redskins Park, located at 21300 Redskin Park Dr. along Loudoun County Parkway, is the training headquarters and the practice facility for the NFL's Washington Redskins. Though the Redskins were relocated to Richmond in April 2013, the team has become an integral part of the Ashburn community and the park has become a popular destination for residents.

conrad zimmermann June 22, 2014 at 05:58 AM
Perhaps the native Americans do not wish to be associated with a losing team. They are fair weather friends
Allison Pike June 22, 2014 at 06:32 AM
The Indians are a bunch (small bunch) of people that are not brave and proud as I always thought of them. They are weak and anything but brave. if they think that the name of a football team is about them they are insecure too.
Stephen Sachs June 22, 2014 at 07:39 AM
All the Redskins have to do is substitute a picture of some red potatoes for the native American and then they can stay the redskins. GO FIGHTING POTATOES!!
Bill Zaccagnino June 22, 2014 at 09:32 AM
Dan Snyder should take a lesson from the Wizards--formerly the Bullets--recognizing that an offensive name should be changed. For Snyder, it's not about the team name. It's about his ego.
Rick Young June 23, 2014 at 12:49 PM
Let Snyder Suffer the consequences, if any. I will NOT feel sorry for him.

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