Lawlessness in Sports: U.S. Patent Office cancels Redskins trademark registration

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration because it considers the team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans,” reports the Washington Post.

The case, which was on behalf of five Native Americans, appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

“This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath, told the Post.

Added Alfred Putnam Jr., the chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath: “We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case. 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 victory won’t have any immediate impacts on the Redskins organization, or owner Daniel Snyder’s decision to keep the team’s name. The Redskins will appeal the ruling, but should the ruling be upheld, it would mean that the Redskins would lose its federally trademarked protections.

As explained by USAToday.com last month, “The effect would be large because federally registered trademarks keep others from selling items with the team’s logos, although even then the team could try to keep unauthorized merchandisers from using the marks through common law and state statues.”

Read more here.

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