U.S. Patent Office Cancels Trademark for NFL's Redskins B&C, NY Times
Ruling that “Redskins” is disparaging to Native Americans, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the federal protections for associated trademarks, reports B&C.
Under common-law rights, the Washington Redskins team can continue to use the name and enforce its trademarks, The New York Times notes. But the ruling is another indication of the problems facing the team and its brand, the publication adds.
The decision came after a challenge by Native American groups in Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc.
“By a preponderance of the evidence, the petitioners established that the term 'Redskins' was disparaging of Native Americans, when used in relation to professional football services, at the times the various registrations involved in the cancellation proceeding were issued," the trademark office said.
The NFL can appeal the decision, B&C notes. Bob Raskopf, the Redskins' attorney, indicated the team would appeal, B&C reports.
“We are confident we will prevail once again," said Raskopf, "and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s divided ruling will be overturned on appeal. This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board canceled the Redskins’ trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board.”