Redskins Racist Team Name Update: Washington Football Team's Trademark Canceled by Patent Office
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins' trademark registration, saying the team name is offensive and "disparaging to Native Americans." The decision won't require the team to change names but it could affect merchandise sales.
Five Native Americans brought the case to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. This is the second time a case like this has been 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.
Because federal trademark law prohibits trademark registration that "may disparage" individuals or groups or "bring them into contempt or disrepute," the decision to cancel the Redskins' trademark was made. Six different trademarks that contain the word "Redskin" were canceled.
"We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case," Alfred Putnam Jr., the chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath, said. "The dedication and professionalism of our attorneys and the determination of our clients have resulted in a milestone victory that will serve as an historic precedent."
The Redskins won't be required to change their name, but their merchandise options may be limited. T-shirts, sweatshirts and other merchandise items that are created by companies like Nike won't be able to sell officially licensed Redskins gear. But, that won't stop cheap knockoff brands from using the name.
Native Americans in this case hope that the Redskins loss of profit from merchandise will force them to change the name of the team.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has refused to discuss changing the name of the team. He insists that the team name will "never be changed."
The Redskins are expected to appeal this decision and will make a statement later Wednesday.
In 1999, Native Americans won a similar case but the NFL and the Redskins appealed and got the case thrown out in 2009.
What do you think about the Redskins' team name? Should it be changed? Why or why not? Leave a comment in the comments section below.
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