U.S. Patent Office Cancels Washington Redskins Trademark

Name deemed 'disparaging to Native Americans'

Redskins Trademark CanceledAccording to The Washington Post, The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration. The ruling does not mean that the team has to change the name. But it does affect merchandising for the Redskins and the NFL as it limits the team’s legal options when others use the logos and the name on T-shirts, sweatshirts, beer glasses, etc.

The ruling states that the Redskins name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” 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.”

“We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case,” Alfred Putnam Jr., the chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath (the firm that filed the lawsuit on behalf of five Native Americans) 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.”

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