Wednesday, June 18, 2014

USPTO cancels NFL Washington Redskins's team name trademark registration


The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued an administrative decision canceling the legal force of the trademarks and wordmarks for the Washington Redskins NFL professional football team.  The team says it will appeal.  The text of the opinion is here.

Although the team can still continue to use the name, it can no longer bring legal action against others who try to use it.  There would be no conceivable action against domain names based on the Redskins, for example.
   
The USPTO says it did research and claims that the name has been understood as a racial slur against native Americans.
  
One wonders about some other sports teams names, like Cleveland Indians and particularly Atlanta Braves (MLB), or even Kansas City Chiefs (NFL).
     
The Redskins’s play has been on a slide ever since losing the playoff game at home to Seattle in January 2013 when then coach Shannihan failed to remove the charismatic and superstar quarterback Robert Griffin III after an injury.  The team finished a pathetic 3-13 in 2013, and seems distracted by the name controversy.   (If they had put Cousins in immediately, they would have won that game.)  You could tell that with the first home game against the Philadelphia Eagles. It would be better to change the name now and put this behind them.  Even so, the city of Richmond VA (picture above) made a big deal of hosting the teams training camp and opening practice sessions to the public in late July 2013.  

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